This story is among the #39Reasons I am running as a Trustee for Vancouver School Board (VSB). Each story is based on my experience working at the VSB for over 7 years with CUPE and PASA.
There I was standing on the Skytrain platform, waiting for students while maximizing my limbs to carry supplies, bus tickets, class lists, extra mittens, socks, and raincoats
I reserved my backpack for granola bars – they were the heaviest but the best in a pinch
Before I knew it, he came up beside me and grabbed a bag off my shoulder offering to help me carry it
He smiled with his lips fully sealed up, glittery eyes and I'd guess about 4’8” tall if he was standing straight
We were happy he showed that day
He had a wavering attendance, distaste for the pace and prescription of learning and the feeling that he’s not good enough for school
But after support workers' repeated invites to activities, he finally started showing up and that’s when we learned how he spent his time out of class
It turns out that he has a talent for design - creating typeface, sketching complex works of art and teaching himself Python
Coding in his spare time and going unnoticed in his regular classes
It was just the other day, he surprised me again, he caught my eye, that huge smile, lips sealed, peeking out from the production line of a high volume food factory
I asked him what he was up to and he told me he was still making basic apps and coding as he does
He showed me some of his work and I asked if he had pursued any classes or training, he hadn’t and didn’t know where to look, feeling the same way as before
After leaving school his appetite for coding grew stronger and I couldn’t help but wonder
What if learning was more student-centered, more reflective of the learner and their intersecting needs?
What could we enable, what capabilities could we develop and unlock?