Education is a funny thing; everyone interprets things differently, so no one set of guidelines can guarantee a class room of students the same values that they may or may not take from that class nor can it ensure that their I.Q levels will all be the same. What it can do though, is provide an opportunity for each individual to take that lesson and learn at least something from it when they step out the door of the classroom.
This year, I learned a lot of new things, not only about religion or monologues or descriptive writing skills, but I learned a lot about myself and the people around me. From the moment I stepped in the doors of SLA freshman year, I had a “leave me alone unless you’re like me” kind of personality going. Granted, I’d be nice to everyone, but I generally only stuck to the people who I could relate to, mostly by music. I always tried to be open-minded but at the same time, I always kept my distance. This year, I had a really diverse stream, which allowed me to be immersed in a lot of different kinds of people.
At first it was a little scary and disappointing, because I could no longer cling to the familiarity of my freshman year crew. But I got something so much better, something so much more from it. I learned to appreciate people, more so than I ever had. I learned to appreciate them for how we could humanly relate, having the same problems or the same sense of humor or the love for making others smile. I became really good friends with a girl that I probably would’ve stared down last year. And I accepted her, and I love her, and I appreciate her, for everything that she is, does and learns.
With the lesson of diversity strong in mind this year, I think that the most powerful project we did was the one on religion. I liked being able to compare religions and learn about the different beliefs of each one. I started the unit really ignorant to the different kinds of worship and faith that went into every religion, but when the project was over, I had a new sense of appreciation for each one. When we started the unit I had originally thought of religion in a one tone way. “Religion. There are many different meanings of the word, many different origins and beliefs that go into it. But when stripped down to it’s bare meaning, religion is more like a preference to guide lines of redemptions. But after looking and studying each one, I learned that there’s a lot more that goes into each belief than just some crap that they read from a book.
Another thing that was really interesting, diverse and educational were the trials. I liked how everyone really got into their roles to defend their group even if they didn’t believe they were guilty in the end. I think that the trials were one of the most important projects as well because they teach you lot of different things. For example, you learn a lot of researching techniques, social lessons and historical facts as well. I think in the end you also learned how people’s opinions have changed over time and how we can ponder and reflect and learn from previous mistakes made in the past so we can learn to avoid them in the future, and that’s what history does, it teaches you, not only about the past, but how you can learn to better your future.
Past work over the year
The collaborative Google doc used in the sweatshop trials