Hi. My name is Steven Delpome. I’m 41 years old. It’s still hard to get used to that actually being my real age. And one year ago I quit my job teaching wonderful children at a public school in a lovely town that you might not know that you’ve actually heard of:
I quit because I found out that part of my job was to make children miserable. Not all children, mind you. Probably, hopefully, not even most. I remember nothing but having a string of the loveliest people you’ll ever meet in class with me every day. A few have even kept in touch a little after they left.
Hi Wendy, Stephanie, Nigel, Jenny, Jay, Derrick, Malik, I’m sure and I’m sorry that I’m forgetting a few others.
But it’s a reality of being a teacher in most schools that there are kids in your class that are just miserable most days, no matter how hard you try. And usually it’s not just your class they’re miserable in. It’s like that for them in almost all of their classes.
Once I found out that part of my job was to make children miserable, and then found out that efforts of mine that placed a priority on happiness were frowned upon by the grown-ups, I found myself miserable too. Crying in the car before school. Feeling relief when my doctor told me my job was making me sick because I got to use sick days and not go into work. Among my favorite movies since I was in grammar school is John Patrick Shanley’s Joe vs. The Volcano. It's had an influence on me.
Don’t laugh until you’ve tried watching it again...
So I quit. In far less spectacular fashion.
And I decided to, for as long as I could afford to, put my efforts toward making life a little less miserable for the kids who were getting made miserable by school. And hopefully bring some fun to kids as well! I guess if I were me of a few years ago I’d look at me today and think I was making some sort of penance
But it’s not that. It’s about a life well lived.
Okay. So maybe not to the Rick Sanchez extreme.
But still it’s no way to live a life being miserable for a significant portion of your waking hours. Not for an adult who must work, not for a child who has to go to school. I don’t have the know how to make people like their jobs. I can leave that to a guy like Simon Sinek--seriously, check him out. More than just this video too. He’s super.
But this Self-Organized Learning Environment that Sugata Mitra created does have the potential to make school better for a lot of kids for whom, right now, school flat out sucks. And I can’t start a new school right now, and I don’t have the science degrees to start researching its impact and creating reports for schools. But I can bring the SOLE to people who want to try it. And I can work my ass off to make sure that people who need it have access to it, removing all obstacles, like money and technology and wifi access.
And then I think I'll be living a live well lived. And hopefully help some other people to try and do the same.
That’s me. How do you do? It’s nice to meet you. Hope to hear from you soon.