Week two of on-campus learning (for everyone) is in the books!
I was reading an article the other day about ancient Greek education and it mentioned that the contemporary English word “school” derives from the Attic Greek “σχολή (scholē)” which literally means “leisure” but contextually means something more like, “the time set aside for leisure”. In reality, what they most likely meant was “time when you don’t have to labor in order to survive”.
The Greeks knew that time away from labor, actual physical labor, was to be treasured, and more than simply appreciated, it was to be used. The reason that “school” came from this concept is that, in the time away from physical labor, they considered a proper use of time to be the development of the intellect, development of character, all the things that we try and do at “school”.
I have to say this small bit of information convicted me a bit. When I was in school, I did not equate that experience with anything like “leisure”. School was intellectually difficult, and back then I even thought it was hard work, a notion I was disabused of the first time I had to tar a roof in the middle of a Houston summer.
So is it a measure of how easy life has become that school is seen as a chore by so many? Or, is it that school, traditionally constructed, has moved away from the exploratory, inquiry-based, joyous activity that led the ancients to seek learning out as a leisure activity?
One of the things I love about AISL is that I get to see joy in learning on a daily basis. As I walk through the secondary school, I see kids and teachers genuinely happy to be at school teaching and learning. I see projects and creative expression that is both relevant to the times and indicative of a deep satisfaction with how learning has been situated into students’ lived experience. Having worked for many years in the American public school system, where external measures of success have real financial consequences for schools, and thus for kids, and thus for communities, it’s important that we take a second once in a while and appreciate the fact that we can have a place like AISL, a place that tries everyday to live up to “school” the way the ancient Greeks imagined it to be.
A few logistical items:
For further clarification please refer to the attendance policy in the Secondary Handbook.
Thanks to you all. AISL wouldn’t be the same without you. Have a great weekend!
Dr. Rick Odum
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