Re: [Discuss-sudbury-model]any chance to speed up the employment process?

From: Elizabeth Marrin <e_marrin_at_yahoo.com>
Date: Fri Aug 23 12:09:00 2002

Bruce & Joseph:

Thanks for responding..
 
> I agree with Joseph that approaching a school with a
> more-or-less specific research proposal might (I
> stress, "might") be fruitful...if research is
> what you wish to do.

I tried a year or so ago to inquire about doing a research
thesis on SVS and I was met with a 'we don't do that here'
attitude. I gave up quickly. But I keep wondering if I have to
reinvent the wheel just in order to show that it works. Must I
first become an administrator/director to create a school nearly
exactly like SVS or The MET and then become a researcher? What
a lot of struggle that would be.

> (Btw, the book to which he referred -- if
> my hunch is correct -- is entitled _Legacy of Trust_, and is
> available from the SVS Press).

I'll look it up but I might have seen that one already.

> However, I'm not entirely certain that research is what, or
> all, you have in mind. I would need to know more to give you
> an informed response, but I wonder: what exactly do you want,
> and how does that relate to what people who work in Sudbury
> schools are doing? What kind of involvement or employment do
> you seek, and how is that "problematic for [your] career"?

So I came to the idea of SVS without knowing about it. I could
have created it from the necessity of my own life experience. I
was considered "gifted" but preferred studying psychology in
high school - and I didn't really know I had that right to be me
back then. I was born in the 70's so I believed the hype about
"being yourself" but the educational system didn't help me
develop to be myself at all.

I'm finding that working at SVS could be my vocation (I know a
little about a lot and am always reaching for more) but I have a
lot of questions to ask. I know that if I were to create a
school, it would look like SVS but with a slightly different
focus (less of 'do anything' and more of 'satisfy your
curiosity'.... more of 'this is how you find what you are
curious about')

I grew up in the field of academic psychology where most of my
role models have produced research studies. I want to follow in
their footsteps - research is like a torch carrying situation.
Studies are built upon lessons learned from previous studies.

In high school (junior/senior ~1989/1990), I was fascinated by
studies/theory of intelligence, creativity, and where these
intersect. But it wasn't taught - I needed to seek it out. And
what I found wasn't prepared or watered down for high schoolers
who hadn't studied statistics. So I lost some motivation. But
I thought that going to college would help. Even in college, my
fascinations were marginalized. I picked a large public college
in hopes that my interests would be satisfied. It didn't happen
that way. The timing was off - no one was teaching about
researching intelligence.

My life is more complicated than what I have time for here - I
ended up going to 4 different colleges (2 of them at night while
I worked full-time) over a span of 10 years. Suffice it to say,
I learned more about intelligence from reading Gifted Child
Quarterly and the Roeper Review. But I give cheers to my final
college choice: UMass Boston. In 2000, I took a course on
Creativity ---- but by that time - with 10 years of autodidactic
yearnings, I was the most knowledgeable student in the class - I
could have taught it.

Back to the point: I already know that SVS is doing the right
thing because there exist people like me who are brilliant but
entirely dissatisfied with learning about physics, chemistry,
biology, or history (and I was socialized to do well in school -
and I did - but that's not the point) ... and have spent an
exorbitant amount of time WASTING TIME. I gave up years of my
life just so that a school system can claim me as a good
student. But life satisfaction is more important than good
grades in arbitrary subjects.

One career choice I thought of would be to advocate for
psychology having an equal footing. But that still isn't
enough. I was entirely fascinated by Chaos Theory at the same
time I was interested in intelligence and creativity. Just
adding another subject isn't healthy.

I have already done the thought work to realize that self
development is what education should seek to be. And that does
not mean standardized curricula. It means an entirely new way
of doing education. SVS has come awfully close to what I would
have created.

So I am offended that I need to take more time to 'prove myself'
right for SVS. It goes against what I think it purposes. But I
imagine that insiders of SVS think that what I think about SVS
does not really matter. Can SVS improve and kick the
standardized movement to the curb? I DEFINITELY THINK SO. I am
biased to think that research can show that success is more than
just doing well at what you aren't interested in in the first
place.

In addition to all that I've said, I also can bring in a
feminist argument that would help SVS's mission. I have written
a paper on that and can send it out to you if you request it.

> I can appreciate the impatience and frustration I sensed in
> your post. Yet I can also assure you that the nature of
> Sudbury schools makes a lengthy staff selection process, and
> limiting the number of people "on the inside," quite
> necessary. Because this model is so unusual in most
> people's experience, so difficult to grasp without prolonged
> immersion --

I think that is BS. It isn't difficult to grasp at all. Even
if you haven't experienced what I experienced, all it takes is a
moment to open your eyes... to know that all ideas and people
are worthy and that education right now is really just
indoctrination into a society that marginalizes those who don't
have a voice. I know these are strong words I'm speaking, but I
don't see it any other way.

And this is why research comes in... My life purpose is to make
sure that people's life purpose comes to them (or at least have
their curiosities met at each learning stage). How I do this
doesn't really matter. But I don't want to do it on a small
scale (i.e., I don't want to be a typical teacher). I get
really sad thinking that there are brilliant people who don't do
well in school because they can't see themselves in their
required subjects. Even the concept of "learning" makes us
question (Read Shaun Gallagher's _Hermeneutics and Education_)
what kind of schooling is healthy.

> and because of our insistence that children's learning be
> entirely up to them -- we maintain safeguards to help ensure
> informed staff selection and student autonomy.

I think that one can come to the obvious conclusion without a
lengthy employment process. I just cannot waste my time like
that.

> I hope this little bit helps,

It does. Thanks for taking your time to talk with me about
this...

> and that you find answers to your questions.

Hmm not yet.... but I hope I have given you more information so
that we can continue talking.

Sincerely,
Elizabeth Marrin, Ed.M.

 
> Bruce Smith
> Alpine Valley School
>

>
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Received on Fri Aug 23 2002 - 12:08:44 EDT

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