Richard Olson

Richard Olson

This is a tale of two boys, neither of whom could function optimally in a traditional Ontario Catholic high school: uniform, attendance, homework.

There is a deep vulnerability at the heart of education. Sometimes it looks like this:

A mother sits across from me sobbing, her shoulders heaving up and down as she surrenders to the anguish that she carries for her child. I move out from behind the barrier of my desk and sit beside her, offering a tissue.

On my desk sit two books, one on top of the other, spines facing outwards so that the titles are clear to the students and the parents with whom I meet. Both are authoritative texts in the context of Catholic education. One is the Education Act, the other is the Bible.

As a young teacher two decades ago I attended a conference where a packed room of educators was told that during our careers we would witness learning environments in which students would employ personal communication devices. It sounded like something out of Star Trek, as probable as warp drive.