Before I became a father, I started working for a photography college as an admissions officer. I thought that I would work for Brooks Institute for a year and then return to teaching. My life changed and I remained at Brooks for nearly five school years. Now I have a ten year old daughter and an eight year old son. I returned to teaching (a few times), but I never completely left college admissions. Earlier this month, I took my two children to the Sonoma County College and Career Readiness Fair that I helped start. I wanted my kids to learn about “my college fair,” and begin learning about the different college options. You can see more photos from the 2014 Sonoma County College and Career Ready Fair here.
Of course, I do not own the college fair. It is not really mine. Chris Vetrano, one of the Windsor High School assistant principals, calls me the founder of the Sonoma County College Fair. (see photo #43) Even the term founder distorts my role in the creation of the college fair. Chris and the current Sonoma County Superintendent Steven Herrington deserve more credit for starting the fair and much more credit for its continuation.)
On the drive from Oakland to Windsor, California, I tried to explain to my children what I do (or did) as a founder. Basically, I was the middleman. Other people did all the work before and after. I took several ends of electrical chords and tried to connect them. I try to do this often. This time it worked.
When I was a college admissions officer, I was ambivalent about college fairs. I loved meeting students and family members. I enjoyed answering questions that would help people prepare for their future. However, I also remember being frustrated that I was often asked many unimportant questions. Educators, myself included, were not preparing students to succeed in college. We were teaching them how to do well on tests, but not how to think once students arrived at a university.
I gave my son my second camera and let him walk around both gyms. Even though he is only 8, I was impressed by what he saw. (I posted some of his photos on my other blog.) He noticed the marketing. He saw the colors and candy. What does this tell us?
In the last month, I have returned to teaching photography again. I am at a new school and my students have returned to their old school. I have attended two different Back to School nights, one as a teacher and one as a parent. While I still wonder if we could prepare our students better, I am impressed by how many people care for our children… people we will never meet care deeply about our children.