Wednesday, April 25, 2012

She Uses School (My daughter, the Iconoclast).

Photo by Maddie 

While school uses most people (wasting their time with things they don't care about), my daughter uses school.
Let me explain. To my daughter, the school is a stage; an arena in which her drive to challenge the status quo plays out. Literally, she goes to school in order to test her ideas. She goes to school to pit her thoughts  against the 'the unexamined norm.'
In truth, she is the perfect student; any teacher should love such a student in their midst to stimulate discussion and challenge established traditions- and they do until it goes against their own believes.
At which point she is a rebel rouser. A nuisance. "Why doesn't she shut up already?" some think and many students say.
Who really wants an iconoclastic, sharp-minded 16 year old laying out cherished believes over the coal rack?
Frankly, it's uncomfortable.

She argues, judges, defends. A topic is presented; she -always the justice seeker- takes it to it's logical conclusion.
She brings up prickly or controversial issues- prostitution rights, gay rights, democratic process and the lack of it in obvious places.
Even what she wears, how she dresses is an exploratory act, or an act to make a statement on an issue. Grade 9 she was a boy. Grade 10 she painted her face- and I mean painted;-chess boards, dramatic masks, polka dots. Grade 11 she wears cabaret style dresses and lipstick.
She goes to school to create. She uses what is at her disposal to it's limits- video camera, editing equipment, paints, books. She has a vision- it might spark from her own take on what she is experiencing or reading, it might be introduced by the school or by the teacher. It might be an injustice she is experiencing (like when the school took the money she and her Anime Club fundraised for and withheld it because it was for an event that was not school sanctioned).
The classroom becomes a training field for the world of human rights activism, sometimes even a battle ground!
Often, she expands her education and knowledge of the world through reading news or listening to music on her ipod if the lesson is dull.
Thankfully she has co-op experience which brings her out of the silo that is school and into the world where she can bounce of her ideas within the adult world.
Her co-ops are both at newspapers and she gets the chance to write articles for the papers and interview people.
While she it is very intense being around my daughter because she is so intense as a person,she certainly forces people to question their ideals; "ideas not ideals" is a favorite saying of hers.
She has found a way to make school serve her purpose -which I think is a good thing. But I wonder how long will that last?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes! This is a wonderful take on how school can be beneficial to an unschooler-that is, taking advantage of resources available to you through the school system. That's the kind of attitude we need more of.
Kids , ideally could go into the school to make use of what is out there rather than be 'put upon' by school type thinking and curriculum etc etc. It could be more like a library/place for discussion/community centre. Thanks for this.

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