Beth and I started our journey as Learning Partners in the Clemente Program in 2018. Both of us saw this as a wonderful opportunity to help and share our skills. We both had teaching experience, however Beth hadn’t taught for 45 years and was nervous and apprehensive.
The entire experience has been exciting and enriching. Doing the readings each week, whether they be on literature or philosophy has led to many interesting discussions both inside and outside the classes. We soon learnt that the students all had a variety of needs ranging from help with reading over responses, analysing questions, basic computer literacy, encouragement to keep going, reminders to meet deadlines, discussions of their next step in their studies or career.
We both discovered that many of the students were extremely bright and to see them presenting excellently researched philosophical work to their fellow students from the front of the class and performing Anthony and Cleopatra were such memorable experiences.
The benefits of doing this are numerous for me: self awareness, experiencing greater compassion and connectedness with a part of our community from which we are often most separate. I continue to gain insight into lifestyles, life experiences and circumstances of people I would otherwise never have the opportunity to understand or learn from. I am more optimistic about positive changes being possible in the world.