Carihi planning students brainstorm some of their concerns about life, school and the future during a planning session for next week’s event, which asks the public to come and be part of the process in creating a new planning curriculum for the school. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror

‘We can’t possibly know how their world works’

Redesigning a curriculum to ready the future leaders of our world

Two local teachers are trying to change the way kids these days think about what it means to be successful.

Carihi’s Wayne Demerse and Donnie Fitzpatrick are working with a group of students to redesign the school’s planning and life skills curriculum in an attempt to shift the mindset of what it means for students to “be ready for the real world,” and are hosting an interactive public open house on the concept next Thursday night (Oct. 19) to garner feedback and community perspectives on the topic.

“We want to open it up to the community to come and share their perspectives,” Fitzpatrick says, “about what it was like when you were a kid. Or if you’re a boss, what are you looking for in today’s youth? Or as a parent, what do you think your kids need to know before they venture out into the world? And we want all the people with those perspectives to hear from the kids themselves about how they feel so we can all work together on what it means to be a success once you leave here.”

Fitzpatrick says that for far too long, various iterations of high school “life planning”-type courses have been focused on the end goal of creating “human doings rather than human beings.”

“I mean, you’re never going to get away from the idea of ‘what am I going to do?’ but what we don’t want is for them to lose the essence of who they are while they are in pursuit of that,” he says. “Quite often, kids are sitting there having learned how to play the game, and they’ve done everything ‘right’ in terms of ‘how to be successful,’ and they’re wondering, ‘why aren’t I happy?’”

Well, that’s because they listened, Fitzpatrick says. While it’s important to pay attention to the messages being shared by those who have come before, you shouldn’t do that at the expense of listening to yourself.

“I could tell you story after story after story of listening to kids absolutely sobbing and telling me, ‘this isn’t what I want to do, but my parents won’t pay for my education if I don’t,’ or, ‘everyone is telling me this is what I should be, but I don’t want to do that.’”

And so he and Demerse are listening. In fact, they’ve spent the last six weeks listening to the students currently in the Carihi planning and grad transitions classes discuss their thoughts on the matter, and on Oct. 19 the multi-purpose room and various classrooms will be open from 6:30 to 8:00 to hear as many other perspectives as they can get.

“These are very interesting times,” says Demerse. “So we want to hear from a very wide spectrum of people about how they feel about the world.”

Who are they looking for? Anyone who wants to be a part of making the world more ready for these kids and make these kids more ready for the world.

“All we’re looking for is sincerity and your truth as you see it,” Fitzpatrick says. “If we’re asking kids to get in touch or at least delve into what their truth might be, we’re only going to be able to access that by getting real, honest answers.”

Being asked to redesign the course that is supposed to make sure kids are ready for a real world that’s completely different than it was when you were entering it, Fitzpatrick admits, is a mighty big mountain to climb, but the opportunity has presented itself to do just that, so they’re going to damn well try, he says.

“You have to give permission for it to get messy,” he says. “If we go into it approaching it as ‘this is where it’s going to go and this is what it’s going to be,’ then we’ve lost the whole essence of it. It’s a daunting task to try and do this, but there’s nothing worse than seeing kids sitting there in front of you in a classroom who have completely lost who they are while trying to appease other people. To me, that’s the complete antithesis of education.”

Anyone with questions can contact Demerse at wayne.demerse@sd72.bc.ca or Fitzpatrick at donnie.fitzpatrick@sd72.bc.ca or just show up next Thursday night and find out what’s going on first hand – and be part of the solution.

“We want to put together a curriculum that isn’t based on what we think they need to know – because we can’t possibly know how their world works. We want to work with them to create something where they have designed the curriculum based on what they hear from the community, combined with their experience, based on all the perspectives they can gather while giving themselves a voice in the process.”

Just Posted

VIDEO: Orcas put on a show near Hornby Island

Louis Jobodin shares photos and video of his experience

‘Heavy-handed’ Campbell River bylaw amendment to get ‘tweaks’ before being passed

City looks to control invasives and noxious weeds by holding property owners accountable

VIDEO: Campbell River Search and Rescue volunteers train in the snow

Campbell River Search and Rescue volunteers took some alpine training with Island… Continue reading

City of Campbell River wants its share of cannabis tax money

City forecasts increase costs due to marijuana legalization, needs money to deal with those

Did you get Hitched in Courtenay on Sunday?

The first annual wedding show saw big crowds and included two fashion shows

Vernon to host largest Special Olympics B.C. Winter Games in 2019

Games to be held Feb. 21-23, with more than 800 athletes expected to take part

Sentencing hearing begins for ex-BC Liberals employee in ‘quick wins’ scandal

Former communications director Brian Bonney pleaded guilty last October

Island passengers say Sunwing left them stranded in Abbotsford

Company says late arrival led to difficulties securing accommodation, transportation

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag for Canada at 2018 Olympics

The pair earned a gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games

Diplomacy on agenda at North Korea summit in Vancouver

Foreign ministers from 20 countries are meeting Tuesday to discuss security and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Kids chained in Calif. house of horrors; parents arrested

Authorities say an emaciated teenager led deputies to home where her 12 brothers and sisters were locked up in filthy conditions

Most Read