Rob Wilson as Educator
I grew up on a self-sufficient organic farm, which shaped who I am today in multiple ways. Firstly, it instilled in me a passion for experiential learning, a strong belief that the world outside is the best classroom. Throughout my 18-year career in education, I have been drawn to institutions and programs that share this philosophy, from the therapeutic nature-immersions of the Oakley School, in Utah, to the all-rounded, ‘real-world’ approach of the International Baccalaureate.
Secondly, life on the farm taught me the importance of learning how to learn. With back-to-the-land university professors as parents, our family was green in more ways than one, which meant my siblings and I had to get comfortable with living life without a manual from a very young age. Asking critical questions and creative problem-solving became a daily necessity in order to just keep food on the table! We learned through trial-and-error, which is why I have always taught students to not only embrace success but to fail well.
Finally, farm life taught me the importance of nurturing responsible global citizens. We shared a symbiotic relationship with our environment – from the age of 8, I was both nurturing and slaughtering my own food. It gave me a profound awareness of what it meant to live consciously, to respect the world around us, and to take responsibility for our life and our actions. As rustic and idyllic as farm life was, we had to be highly organized, resourceful and collaborative in order to sustain ourselves.
Through all these administrative responsibilities, however, I strive to never lose sight of the individual: I am a strong advocate of Positive Psychology in Education, and have been implementing approaches such as Appreciative Inquiry and strength-based interventions with both staff and students – by helping them thrive on a personal level, I believe they in turn help the school thrive as well. Such is the symbiotic relationship of the school community.