Is it true that you can test whether your pasta is cooked by throwing it against the wall to see if it sticks? If it is, then it sounds just a bit like teaching (and parenting). We toss things out there to our students and kids and hope that the timing is just right and it “sticks.” Education is a lot more complex than cooking pasta, but at Edmonton Christian Schools we hope that our learners will have experiences here that will stick with them as they graduate and that they will be challenged to continue living into God’s story.
Peter Barzilay, who is now a in the fourth year of a five year Engineering co-op program at the U of A, was a grade 9 student in Mr. VanRy’s Social Studies class in 2009. In their study of market economies, he and his classmates established some “businesses” in the school for a few weeks to experience the “invisible hand of the market” and the rigours of running a business. “Pete’s Pit Stop” netted Peter and each of his business partners about $30 profit. When this learning activity ended, the students were challenged (not forced) to consider using whatever small profits they made, in God’s story of stewardship, rather than in the dominant culture’s story of consumerism. They were invited to use their business profits to alleviate poverty in the developing world through a micro-loan to an organization called KIVA (www.kiva.org).
“[Mr] VanRy planted that seed . . .he planted a lot of seeds that year,” Peter shared. “Obviously that’s what a teacher can do and and it’s up to us to take ownership of those things.”
And take ownership of it, Peter did. “Recently I loaned to a business in the Gaza Strip for a company doing bike manufacture or repair.” In his years since grade 9, Peter has made 20 micro-loans to KIVA and he currently has 6 active loans. “What I actually started doing in grade 10 or 11 is donating monthly, ten dollars per month. I plan to continue that. I like the idea that people in those countries come up with an idea for a business and I am able to support them.”
Peter isn’t the only student whose habits and attitudes were shaped by this activity. Mark Huitsing who was in grade nine in 2010, also continued his KIVA loans. “Since then I have made a total of nine $25 loans on Kiva, and I intend to continue doing so for as long as I can. It’s easy, it works and actually makes a difference. I feel called to do this sort of thing as a Christian. “
These are simple stories, and they are just two of many being written in the lives of Edmonton Christian School alumni. It’s heartwarming–kind of like eating comfort food. Comfort food like pasta! And in these cases, I think the pasta is ready!