Wow. The one word I really only have to describe. And I’m only in grade 9, man think about how tiny my grade 9 self is going to seem when I’m in grade 12 and graduating. But right now, wow is the only thing that comes to mind when I think about PLP. I remember when we did that first math puzzle as an assessment, and I remember feeling so stressed out about it. I looked around at all the other kids, and I remember feeling very intimidated. I thought about how much smarter they are then me and how many skills they must have. I even remember thinking that I was not going to make it into this program. Spoiler alert, I made it in. How? Well that’s a story for another time, but this story, this story is a special one so listen closely.
The teachers saw in me something special, and a little small 12 year old, I could not imagine what they saw. But now, almost 2 years later, I see what they saw. Exactly that, a small little 12 year old, with a potential to grow, in thoughtfulness, mindfulness, to become someone that cares, to become someone who acts on things, to become a learner. Now I still have 3 or 4 more years left of this program so if I can tell you these things in grade 9, imagine what I’ll be able to say about my accomplishments when I’m graduating. But lets not get ahead of ourselves. Becoming a thoughtful, mindful individual falls under the subject of a course under the name of Personal Growth Plan (PGP for short). Lets start there.
Personal Growth Plan
This course isn’t one you hear very often, or at all for that matter at any other schools. I’ve only ever heard of PGP at Seycove Secondary, which is why, when it was introduced in grade 8, I was very confused. You’ve probably heard this story before, it goes “yeah I hated the course, it was terrible but once I actually started doing the work I loved it and I can really see how its helped me now.”. Many tell stories like that. But it always starts out with them putting themselves into a category: Academic, Creative, Artsy, Hand-On learner, something like that. I ask you this, why? Why do we feel the need to put ourselves into categories, smart, dumb, in-between? Answer: I have no clue. In my opinion I think many close off their minds to learning numbers when they also love art. Who knows maybe they’re brain processes numbers fantastically but they will never know if they don’t try. So when I joined PGP, all I thought about myself was that I was the opposite a 12 year old girl who liked numbers, and math and sucked at art, and being creative. This course has taught me a lot of things, throughout the 2 years I’ve been in it, but I think the most important was concept of “why can’t I be everything?”. Using the curricular competencies: Think, Care, and Act, I was taught that I don’t have to categorize myself, I don’t have only focus on numbers, or being creative, I can do both. As I were learning how to be a good learner in PGP, I obviously had other subjects on my plate to test out my newfound creativity. One of those subjects, and one of the most important subjects in PLP is Humanities. And thats where I’m headed next.
Humanities is one of the highly stressful subject, still. In grade 8, as I told you I considered myself good with numbers, and English or History or Socials, not so much. I wasn’t doing to well, especially around the time where we had to read “The Highest Tide” (but seriously I will always have a personal vendetta against that book, no doubt.) I even believed that my teachers didn’t like me and that’s why I wasn’t getting the grade I wanted. Crazy am I right? Thats why Humanities is the most important (for me), to prioritize. If you were at my mPOL back in the year, my entire presentation was about time managing, and how I need to basically, do it better. Well have I completely achieved it and done it better? Nope. Now do I get to stop because I’ve accomplished it? N to the O to the P to the E. You might say, what? I thought you said your goal was to do it better, and you just said no you didn’t? What’s up with that? Well I have not and I don’t think I ever will completely achieve it, but have I improved? 100%. What have I done? Well for starters I re-learnt how to use my prioritizing apps, like Things. Things is very important to me, seeing how I pretty much use it for, oh I don’t know, EVERYTHING. I learnt how to think differently when I had overdue work to finish, and I even mentioned this in my PGP Project Pitch form for the Believe in Good project we are working on right now. I needed to realize what’s more important, work or fun, and that I can’t put both first. (Habit 1 and 3 Easter egg for you there!) Habit 4 in PGP is about thinking Win-Win, so using that in my humanities subject, I always want to thank about how I can make time for both, but do whats most important first. As I started to think like this, I could see my grade rising and my grade wasn’t the only thing that was going up. Something else skyrocketed during this time, my learning capacity. Instead of only thinking of myself as a numbers person, I had realized I can be good at learning and remembering history. I just needed a new way of looking at the situation at hand. Once I learnt how to prioritize I showed myself that I can get things done and I can do them well too. Quite a revelation I know. This was an important breakthrough for me because I realized if I can prioritize and do well in humanities, I can do it in Maker too. I honestly think that learning how to be organized my key to success, and I’m going to keep on using this key to open up new doors for me in my life. Let’s stick our key into the next lock of PLP, the Maker course.
Maker is a course thats kind of a combination of Language Arts and Digital Media. Now this course is where we really get to utilize our iPads. When we bought this iPad, honestly I was excited to do all things I already knew how to do. Before this course I had no idea what the heck a “SuperImpose” was, but now if you are in PLP its one of the most important photo editing apps we could ever use. This course also taught me how to use “Things”, the app I talked about like it saved my life. “Things” is a virtual to-do list, and I know it sounds so easy to use right? Well there are actually components to it that can extend the qualities of just writing on paper. Another amazing thing about Maker is that its brought me so many enhanced skills, so I can use my iPad to the fullest extent. One thing I’d never thought I would be able to do, was the “Run” project. This project was all about recreating a 1 minute short horror film. Would you be able to do that in regular school? Nope. When it was introduced, I thought this was a brilliant way to learn how to film with our iPads, a great way to find new angles, and use iMovie like we never had before. You probably think I’m going to say “we learnt how to use our iPads and the film turned out great!!”. Actually, it was quite the opposite for my group. Ben ,Holly , and I were very disappointed in our final product which, let me tell you, really really sucked. But I actually feel glad that I have made mistakes. Because it just gave us the knowledge to know what not to do next time, how to plan things out, and use our time more effectively. It gave us the opportunity to successfully point out our mistakes, very clearly. I think I’m ready to move to grade 10 because I can say that I’m happy I can make mistakes. I feel, even at the start of this year, I wouldn’t be able to say that. I was, and maybe still am, so worried about impressing people, that I wouldn’t let myself up for some air and learn how to acknowledge that I’ve failed. And I now I’ve learnt making these mistakes comes with perks as well, the ability to clearly say what I’ve done wrong, so that I can improve and not make them in the future. Speaking of making mistakes, lets move onto our next subject, where mistakes are often a common theme, in equations to chemistry labs. Scimatics.
Are you happy? We are at our last subject for TPols 2020! The million word blog post is finally, almost, over. As I said, impressing people is sort of a psychological thing. Even if you can resist it and do things for yourself, there’s always kind of a voice in the back of your head reminding you that other people are watching. I’ve said that I’ve always been more for academics, so I knew I really needed to perform in Scimatics. And last year, around term 2, was a huge turning point for me. I talked about this, but I can recap. Basically I had my phone taken away and strict curfews, so I could focus on getting better grades in Scimatics (because my grade let me tell you, were below sufficient). This year, I earned my phone back after last year, and could take my phone to school, but I remained strict to myself about paying attention. I made it my goal to get good grades in Scimatics, without any extra force. This definitely helped with my goals and using “Things” to prioritize. At times, I admit, it was hard but let me tell you something. Right now, if I was sitting in Scimatics class beside my desk partner, at the same desk I always sit at, I wouldn’t WANT to look at my phone. I can say that I WANT to learn. Which is weird to say, because I used to think I could balance both, but again coming back to PGP and habit 3 and 4, I needed to prioritize and think of way I can get both done but the most important first. I honestly think the project where this hit me hard was our chemistry one. we were being introduced to all these new elements, their combinations and separations. It felt like that was more important than watching memes on Instagram. After I would finish my work for that day, I would feel happy and proud of going on social media or Netflix, because I felt like I had earned it.
Giving you a little Hero’s Journey action, I want to bring you back to day 1 of trying out for PLP. The math puzzle day. I expressed at the beginning how I felt intimidated, but going through the gruesome, painful torture that is PLP, I’ve come out a better person. And I can proudly say that at that time I may have just felt like a small 12 year old, but everyone else in that room was also a small 12 year old, and we are all learning and on this journey together. There is no one to impress but myself, and I have all my peers, not for competition (sometimes we have them just for fun), but for having someone to lean on and not feel alone in this journey that is PLP.
Thank you for reading or listening to my transitional presentation of learning, and I really hope I have showed you my growth. I know I’m ready for me to move onto the next phase, now I ask you, what do you think?