Re: DSM: An alternative teacher at a traditional school


Allan Saugstad (asaugstad@vsb.bc.ca)
Wed, 20 Dec 2000 11:52:08 -0800


Joe,

Thank you for your responses. I must apologize (once again) for not making
myself more clear. Time is always at a premium with me and I need to take more
time to organize my thoughts before I send them.

Joe said,

> I cannot give all of my attention and hard work to Fairhaven without giving
> up on public schools; and since nobody can take care of all the world's
> children, the only interpretation I can make of your comment is that you and
> I and we are all "irresponsible".

It is not fair of me to say you are being irresponsible, the same as it is wrong
to say that Anna is being irresponsible. There are good people everywhere, doing
what they can to make a difference. My intention was not to demean yours, or
anybody's, efforts. All I mean to say is that although there are many people who
strongly disagree with the philosophy of public schools, we must not disown or
completely give up on the people involved in them. So to blast Anna for doing
what she does does no one a service.

It reminds me of world politics. If you want countries like China to change
their policies regarding human rights, I believe you work with them, rather than
staying away from them. Negative talk and punitive actions don't build bridges
between countries, communities, or people.

So I would never say to you to leave Fairhaven because helping public school
children is a higher calling, but my point is, and I think you have indicated
this too, there are millions of children out there who need help, who need to
know there is another way, and we must all work in our own way to the benefit of
all children. By communicating what you do to others, and by your efforts to
give subsudies, among many other things I am sure, I think you do that.

What you and other sudbury school people do, is wonderous to me. The courage and
determination it must have taken to step outside of convention to open and run a
school such as Fairhaven humbles me. You provide a window to another way; a
better way! Without people like you, who would I follow? (and indeed I am trying
to follow your example).

There are so many people who either don't see this alternative or can't see it
because of their situation in life. I do believe we people who know this "new"
way, like you and I, should share it with others. But we must be careful. If we
go around butting heads, many people will not listen. The best, most appealing
way I have seen to learn about Sudbury, is through Daniel Greenberg's books.
They show the way without telling me I am doing anything wrong. They are richly
warm and positive; and through them I am able to make the changes I can without
discounting my entire way of living up till now.

> The phrase "judge these people and discount their journey through life." is
> simply an inflammatory and negatively-spun way of saying that I look at what
> other people are doing and don't agree. Well, how else can people decide
> what they are going to do unless they can look at themselves and to their
> neighbor and effectively judge for themselves the right way to live?
>

No argument there. The difference is this; it is fine to disagree and judge what
is right for oneself, and it is fine to communicate what one feels is wrong in a
system, but it is wrong for me to tell someone to stop living the way they are
and live "my way".

It reminds me of Christian missionaries coming to the new world to civilize the
natives here. They had little respect for their culture or the people in them.
This is a little strong - I don't think any of us act that disrespectfully
towards others who don't know about Sudbury, and I don't think we are telling
anybody "my way or the highway", and perhaps I respond too emotionally myself to
"negative" posts, but I do think we need to be careful in how we advocate
ourselves.

I come back to the Sudbury books. Through positive example, we, you and I both,
can change the world!

Respectfully ( I hope),

Allan



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