The Experiential Education of Service

  Tom Sullivan           March 10, 2018 - 3:30pm

To volunteer is to give back to a person or community in a genuine and meaningful way. As a regional education service center, LEARN demonstrates this commitment through its mission to innovate, collaborate, and serve. Connecticut River Academy then extends this mission with our vision for all scholars to graduate with the gifts necessary to contribute to a just and sustainable world. Throughout my life, I have constructed my worldview through a lens congruent to these values. To begin my career by serving a school system that holds this vision so closely to every decision that we make has truly been the honor of my life.

Service to me has always been a way to connect with and learn from my community and environment in a symbiotic, sustainable form. Being able to extend this unique form of learning to my scholars has in turn broadened my understanding of education into a domain that I did not know existed. During our magnet theme days that are focused on cleaning up the Connecticut River, I engage scholars in activities that activate these habits of mind in a more intuitive and subtle form. As we search through others trash that we make our treasures, we ask questions about how these items ended up here while creating ways to reuse or recycle the resources, all while finding humor in the process and the things we find. My primary role in this school is a classroom educator, and the learning that goes on in there is my highest priority. Having the chance to explore the outside world with teenagers through sustainable volunteer opportunities supplements that priority and energizes me to constantly improve my practice and my understanding of the world around me.

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