High school for me, like for many other teenagers, has had its share of ups and downs. Although I have had some great teachers with great classes and inspiring projects, my overall high school experience has been frustrating. Going to an overcrowded public high school, I was in large classes learning a breadth of subjects taught to prepare for testing. I joined the IB program to move to smaller, more focused classes with peers more interested in learning, but I quickly realized that in this competitive program, most kids were more focused on the grade than the subject. I felt that the ability to test well was more rewarded in my school than actual knowledge of the subjects. I found that I was happiest and most successful when I had the opportunity to work collaboratively, creatively, and in depth on the task at hand.
I was frustrated in my education during high school because I have been a student who is engaged and interested in the subject matter. This interest began the day that I walked into kindergarten in the exceptional elementary school in my neighborhood. This magnet school featured a Storyline curriculum, where classroom learning was interdisciplinary, rewarded teamwork and creative problem solving, and where focus was on immersing yourself in the subject matter. In this environment, I thrived.
In life, like in Storyline, nothing exists without relation to anything else. High school in my experience was taught with every subject in its own arena. Nothing was connected. For example, my religions class was taught without relation to history, history was not related to science or geography, and nothing was related to math. My days in Storyline, and my experiences in life, have taught me that this is not true outside of the classroom, where everything is interrelated. This made high school frustrating because without the relations to the world it was hard for me to become interested in my high school subjects. When you mixed this with the fact that very few of peers had any interest in school beyond what it took to get an “A”, I began to feel discouraged in my education. I knew that as a student who is naturally passionate about learning I needed a change.
This is why I am interested in Fairhaven. I’m excited to experience a smaller community with a focus on interdisciplinary learning and be surrounded by people want to try something outside of traditional education. By evaluating students on their classroom performance instead of by testing there is a sense of accountability for the students, motivating them and making the learning environment more engaged.
This educational philosophy of interconnectivity, accountability, and interactive learning is especially important to me because I want to pursue becoming an elementary teacher. From my background of mixed experiences in my own education, I think that finding an educational style that works for the students is extremely important for creating successful schools. I have experience working with children in summer camp, day care, and on problem solving through teaching rock climbing. These experiences have been rewarding for me, and I have enjoyed spending time with young children. My goal during college is to learn about education in hope of empowering youth to become excited about learning. Because of the core philosophy of Fairhaven, I think it would be a great fit for my educational goals.
Sadie Koch Fall 2014