Education Veveyse

The Happiness Pill

I’ve taken to staring out of my window at the solitary path that leads through the lilac trees and beech hedges. It wanders out of my attic apartment, past the mature beeches of St. Martin’s woods and a railway station. Whilst once bustling, it now sees the occasional empty train pull in. Following on, the view continues to Vevey’s roofs and beyond to the 2000m Mt Grammont towering above, still covered in snow.

It is Spring, and thick sunlight wraps around apartment buildings’ shadows. It pools in the open spaces, in which the light green growth and scent of olive, bay leaf, oregano, lavender and rosemary surrender. Flowering alliums attract bees and butterflies. Nature has been nurtured, it is unfolding and it is thriving.

Ambulance sirens punctuate the roar of the Veyeyse as it runs parallel. I imagine that I am walking along the Veveyse. Out of town into the wooded countryside, to a wilderness where time moves slowly, where thundering waterfalls ionise the air, and wild garlic with sweet buds permeate. Where mountain boulders lie in random arrangements, yet contribute to a sense of balance. I imagine that the Veveyse is a channel, allowing nature’s creative sound and landscape to span the space between nature’s teacher and its pupils, a connection between the known and unknown, an exploration of various senses in learning, focus and balance.

My eyes return to the desk I am seated at and to the lesson I am preparing for

On a tablecloth lies my laptop, a writing pad filled with drawings and notes, books, and my timetable.

It is 10 mins before the lesson and I open my laptop. I open each application needed for the lesson, then click on the video-conferencing link. I see six pupils already waiting online, then a cascade of bubbling voices join within seconds to permeate the soundscape. One or two might have difficulty connecting and we chat effortlessly about life’s rhythms. Hooray everyone’s managed to connect, wants to share, wants to give, wants to be listened to, wants to be an active and expressive participant. Now learning can begin!

With each lesson, each adaptation, each refinement, I feel that I’m learning too. I have learnt that every individual has strong feelings about certain issues. As a result, they need to express themselves through their work in a variety of ways. I have learnt that in times of isolation, pupils need to be provided with spaces in which they can collaborate. Collaboration does not mean, to share the work where some work harder than others; every individual produces the work; however, it is produced through continuous discussion, clarification and refinement in small groups.

To lead a meaningful life is to lead a creative life. Whether this is online or offline, we need to ask ourselves a question. Are we, our children and young adults leading meaningful, purposeful, creative lives in all that we do? This is the happiness pill.

Author Bio 

Anna Sikora
Enseignante Informatique
EduTech & STEAM / MIT Lead Collège Champittet

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