For some, school and the educational process are enjoyable and fulfilling. For others, it is a struggle. This struggle can be due to developmental challenges, mental or emotional challenges, social challenges, or just a poor match in learning styles. I have almost universally had a challenging relationship with education. I love to learn and explore, but formalized education has consistently created a great deal of conflict and turmoil for me. Formalized education often felt constricting and under-stimulating, while simultaneously bringing up a lot of anxiety around doing things “right,” not making mistakes, and not making waves even when my needs are not being met.
For better or worse, I carry this experience and perspective with me wherever I go. So it has been an interesting journey in collaborating with the other professionals in IndieED. I have had to work through a great deal of my own story about learning, education and educators to even be able to attend the monthly meetings. Some of these stories have included the belief that I am not a tutor, and so I don’t belong, as well as the automatic assumption that all educators are alike, making it difficult for me to connect with these professionals. These assumptions generally create some level of anxiety for me before and during these meetings, but universally, I leave them feeling connected, inspired, and recharged by the intelligent, creative, and caring members of the IndieED group. These are truly amazing, compassionate people!
I know that my experience with formal education is not especially unique, especially for a substantial percentage of young men trying to navigate the education system. Most of the young men that I work with have had some challenges navigating the educational system. Yet the importance of being able to learn and develop new skills continues to be crucial for creating future opportunities in this age of ever evolving technology and work structures. So the question is not if it is important to be able to learn and develop as a young person, but how to do it, especially in situations where the traditional path of school is challenging, or doesn’t fit well.
What I appreciate most about IndieED, is that the professional members of this group are an amazing resource for the young people and their families in the Boulder area. Whether a student is high achieving and wants some specific support to go even higher, or a student is struggling in general or in a very specific area of their studies, there is a really talented professional that can intervene and make a profound impact on the learning experience of that student.
There is common saying that, “nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” While my experience of formal education has often run contrary to this, my experience with the amazing IndieEd members is definitely in alignment with this saying.
They get it!