Rewiring the System

affection: imagine receiving

Posted in Uncategorized by rewiringangel on January 17, 2009

The other day I got a present from a former student.  It was a tender surprise.  I wanted to share the Affection.

Click on the link and you can see me all those years ago when I was young and teaching High School

I taught a course in the first ever, High School Program with No Building, A High School Without Walls, called the Parkway Program for the great central Parkway in Philadelphia. Life Magazine did an article that one of the students put up on facebook.  I actually taught several classes one in painting and one in something called individual studies where each student had their own research ending in a project.

Then there was the centerpiece of my teaching creations:  Creative Conceptual Conjecture.

The class read great literature and created three-dimensional projects instead of written assignments.  How would you build Hubris as a musical instrument?  Arthur Kastler’s book Act of Creation was the main text.  Check it out.  Philosophers build the ‘badade Bing bad a boom’ differently than a politician.  I had a rainbow of a class.  An unexpected tall black boy who seemingly did not fit, yet he was a very good student quite on point in conversations and in projects.  There was one of every sort: a young woman of the ‘great’ student type who went on to clerk for a senator in Washington DC.  We had tall ones and short ones and dubious gender ones and real artists’ too.  It was a great experience for me since I had attracted a wide variety of human types, I felt blessed.

Many of the projects were thought out individually and expressing one persons view and understanding of the assignment.  Several of the assignments were discerned as a group. It was the Age of Aquarius and group work started to be in vogue. The Blue City made entirely of food and food color of different intensities was a fun group project on every level from the initial choosing and preparing of the different textures and tastes to the choice of density of the blue for each item .  Now that I think about it, I see that what we constructed linear along my long dining room table, is similar to the Dubai new central public buildings all in a line and in interesting shapes.

I noticed that the entire class was not good at measuring and arithmetic. I wondered what I could do to hook their interest and give math a chance to work for them. I decided to teach astrology. The national astrological association was meeting at the Hilton at Fourth and Arch streets just kiddy corner from Betsey Ross’s house. Off we went as a group on a class trip and met the President of the organization. I had written to them saying I was teaching a high school class the mathematical mechanics of creating a chart and wondered if anyone would speak to this group. Dan was one of the students who really got into it. He went on to become a professional photographer. That is a profession that uses measuring and math all the time. We had a blast and the arithmetic to chart the movement of the planets in a circle got everyone doing the addition subtraction and the other two all the time with a precision demanded by the process. If a planet was a degree off in a chart, it had such different meaning and each student really wanted the correct meaning. What fun. I contacted GE and invited a few engineers to study astrology with us for two or three sessions.

One of the students in this class is a professional artist in NYC and his classmate designs jewelry with the precision of the Great Russian master. Rob also is an excellent financial planner who called me to tell me to get out of mutual funds in time not to lose everything. Life saving advice since we all know that saving is hard to accumulate dollars is an effort. We used the Lecher Color test book to check our emotional progress. The great myths book to understand the stories that supported our society. Plato as a guide that everything in the whole of human kind resided in each one of us we just have to brush aside the parts we were not going to use in this period. Mine was a grand experiment and now I have this lovely picture to see how very young I was to have such grand ideals about education


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