My summer break is about to end. When I think back on the past two months, I realized that apart from work and drawing, I also spent some time on the preparation of activities in the herbarium. We've been offering workshops every Saturday afternoon for four months. Though I have to make effort and study hard, I am gradually getting used to the pattern. Most of the time I really enjoy the two hours spent with the children. In fact, I usually leave the herbarium feeling positive and fresh.
If asked why I like the job, I'd say here I am offered an opportunity to do everything contrary to what is being done at work. Instead of cramming kids with knowledge, I make them explore the museum in their own ways. They can come to me or the staff if they feel like asking questions. If they do and ask a question that I can't answer, I won't feel flustered because I can learn something new with the help of the staff.
Today there came only three kids due to the rain. Different from my response at school, we are totally ok with that. In fact, even if there is only one child, we still provide the same service, well, even better. We had a knowledgeable boy who taught us tons of stuff today. I made him introduce and share what he knew with us. Guei-mei even explained to him what she had thought was too difficult before today.
Although I'd introduced and checked out small-leaved Barringtonia in the garden several times this month, today the boy noticed transparent sticky liquid attached to the surface of the fruit. Because of that, we got to learn a new kind of insect.
I relaxed without my awareness this afternoon. We learned the structure of the peach and the apple. Then we made the kids smell and touch the fruits. We even read really great poems about them. We talked about not only science but also writing techniques. In the end, I asked them who peels fruits at home before they ate the fruits. It was such a luxury not to care about time, which is the instinct of a teacher. How nice it is to be un-teacher-like in an un-school-like place.
Our activity usually ends with an art assignment. However, the kids today didn't feel like drawing, so I just said, "Then let's NOT draw!" They packed their bags in a good mood while the boy couldn't wait to sign up for our workshop next month.
I read about the introduction to a Finnish classroom. I am glad to have a chance to carry out my ideal on a weekly basis. Maybe, maybe one day, however faint it is, there is still the possibility of taking a similar try inside a traditional school.