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Sometimes It’s All About the Experience

Many years ago, I made it a goal of mine to focus on accruing new experiences.  It’s not about what I do, but that I do it.  Try new things.  Take risks.  Those were my goals.  I wanted to experience life to the fullest.  Since my life repurposing, my wife and I adopted our son, I went to an NHL hockey game despite not liking the sport in any way, I coached the JV baseball team at my school even though I know nothing about the sport, I presented at numerous educational conferences for teachers, I visited Australia, I flew to Canada, I got a passport, and I touched a shark.  The list is far from complete and certainly not finished, but it’s a start.  I want to experience new things so that I can model this behavior for my son.  I want him to try new things and experience life in a way that will open and expand his mind.  It’s not about the action, it’s about the experience.

Today, my class went on a field trip to the Indian River in Canaan.  The boys had the chance to go digging for historical artifacts from Canaan’s past.  Mr. Fogarty took us out to this great spot on the river that was once used as a dump for the local residents of the town.  Over time the river meandered and the stuff was buried.  Today was our chance to uncover the hidden treasure.  The boys found old bottles including one that once contained root beer extract.  The students found old machine parts and metal scraps.  Although nothing of real monetary value was unearthed, from the hooting and hollering the boys did you would have thought they found gold and silver.  They were so excited to be digging, playing, and exploring.  Sure, it was raining out and the river was very cold.  That didn’t bother many of the boys.  They just kept on digging and searching.  Even after a student cut himself on a bottle and was bandaged up, he kept looking for treasure.  The boys couldn’t get enough.  They were curious, asking insightful questions like, “I wonder what this was used for?” “How old is this?” and “What is this?”  It was awesome.

Was every student involved in the digging and looking for artifacts?  Of course not.  Not every student likes getting dirty and wet.  However, today’s field trip was not about treasure hunting, it was about the experience of exploring our town’s history in a unique way.  We wanted history to come alive for our students.  Some students just walked in the woods or waded into the river while one student just walked in the grass and avoided the river and digging altogether.  Each student had their own experience while participating in the group’s experience.  When asked about the day’s highlight, every student said, “The Dig.”  So, while not everyone was digging, everyone was there sharing in the new experience.  Being a part of a community means taking part in things that you may not really like to do but that are new and enjoyable by some.  Sometimes, it’s just about being there for the experience.

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Author:

I teach sixth grade at Cardigan Mountain School in Canaan, NH. I'm currently ensconced in my fourteenth year at this small, independent boys' school. I love engaging students in relevant and hands-on learning. I was nominated for the NH Teacher of the Year Award in 2016 by a parent. While I love education and guiding students, my first passion is my family. I have a wonderful son, Jeffrey, and a beautiful and intelligent wife, Kim. I couldn't be happier. Every day is the best day of my life.

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