"Returning was a weird thing. You can never visit the same place twice. Each time, it's a different story. By the very act of coming back, you wipe our what came before.” -The Last Little Blue Envelope
I have to admit, their are moments where it is challenging. Moments where I struggle to find the energy the boys deserve. Through the experiences I have been through with the 6th graders the past two years, it is increasingly more difficult to return as if I haven't been down the path. Biting my tongue and not allowing myself to give up too much, too soon. Or coming across as "been here, done that, don't do that". These are often occurrences. Because it is the exploration and modeling that is most important to me after all. The development of truly empathetic global citizens through a year long, real life simulation/experience with microlending. They need me to be not only as excited as last year, but even more so and more intentional due to my personal growth and education.
So where are the boys from the garage now?
For the past week I was able to work alongside the humanities teachers. In doing this, the boys worked on business plans (group business plans linked to our LIVE page below) in humanities class. The goal was to concentrate on transition words, mechanics and critical thinking. I hadn't collaborated across the disciplines in the past so this was an exciting addition to the program. By giving the leadership of these plans to Dave I was able to fully concentrate on the mathematics that goes into starting a business. With the help of Justin at Kiva Zip, I also created a borrower application that allowed us to revisit the financial literacy terms of credit, debt, and interest rates, alongside the math skills of unit rates, percent and graphs. The boys processed these in math class, had meetings with their field partners and some of the groups are currently LIVE AND READY TO GO! CHECK IT OUT.
While being live is exciting, having a visit from Justin from Kiva Zip and giving our first loans this week was even more exciting. Having connected with Justin at KIVA U Summit, I decided to take up Justin's offer to come visit Town School. I am so thankful I did. Justin was able to articulate the differences between Kiva and Kiva Zip, talk about the potential growth of both programs, give advice to the boys and lend an ear to their thoughtful and crazy ideas. It was a lot of fun! And...
Justin's trip was a great kick off to the boys making their first loans as well. The day after his visit I explained to the boys that they had been given a $25 gift card from the current Kiva Council. I informed them that it was up to them as a class to decide who this person was. I let them know that we would reflect on this person throughout the year and compare our experience with micro lending to theirs. Immediately 6B suggested that they might want to lend to a local borrower through Kiva Zip and that they definitely wanted to work alongside an entrepreneur as opposed to an education or home improvement style loan. I was happy to hear them get "there" without my assistance. I had them fill out our Kiva Council Loan Decision Worksheet so that they could start to determine what was important to them, and then each group had 45 seconds to "sell" their person to the rest of the class. Heads down voting and we had our first 6B loan. Garry. The great part of this? We get to communicate with Garry and who knows, a real LIVE meeting?
6A walked in with a different agenda. While they believe in the importance of Kiva Zip they felt passionate about lending more globally. Secretly I smiled, I liked the balance. The 6A boys ranked their class top 4 priorities as "Lending to Women, Lending to people with children or families, lending to countries in turmoil and lending to people who had been discriminated against in the past". The boys went off to discover that it was overwhelming at first to pick a loan and many of the groups got distracted and only hit on 1 or 2 of the priorities they had named themselves. Just when I thought we were going to have it delay the lending a day or two, one of the boys suggested Maria. Maria. Woman. 7 Children. Philippines. Woman. Hit all FOUR if you ask me. The boys started to discuss the importance of lending to the Philippines given the state of the country post storm. WOW. They were really doing it:)
The discussion we have had in class and outside of class on Edmodo have been amazing. In an effort to get them to understand how hard it may be for people to fill out applications if they struggle to read or write I wrote my posts in Edmodo in German at first and then asked them to reflect on statistics about literacy. It was interesting to see their reactions.
So what now? We wait. We wait for the rest of the borrower applications to arrive. We wait for loans from our faculty. We wait to bring more excitement into the garage, one lesson after another. This is bigger than us. This is why I am in education. This is why I find the energy even when it's tough.