An educated society

By Lynda Shadbolt

Like thousands of students across Ontario our daughter was sent home from university in mid-March. With three weeks of classes still to be had her professors were quick to organize Zoom and the learning continued. It was fascinating for Jim and I to quietly listen in the background to her physics chemistry calculus and biology lectures. Those subjects were never my strong suit and so I had a few good laughs to myself. She had her three weeks of lectures followed by “online course crams” where a professor reviewed the entire term in eight hours and these were done on Zoom as well. Madeline worked with professors from across Canada for the course crams. And then came the time to write the exams.

As I sit writing this article she just completed her final exam and is officially done her first year of university and I am very proud of her. It has been so interesting to watch her and her fellow students study and work together using Zoom Facetime and Skype with all the technology of the computers iPads and cellphones. In her friend/study group there are young people who have aspirations to be a surgeon a dentist an engineer a pediatrician a teacher a researcher and then there is Madeline who hasn’t decided what she wants to do yet. She loves learning and is open to possibilities. She and her friends are smart hard working and focused students.

I watched them do homework and study together online and I observed how they all rely on each other. In order to get through the volume of work and the challenging content they need to collaborate and problem solve together. I actually don’t think it would be possible to do it alone unless they were really smart in every subject. And they obviously have a lot of fun working together.

I watched Madeline engage with her friends and I was once again grateful for the education she got in our school system. She went to university prepared not only in content but in the ability to work and problem solve with others. It is key to her success. These young people (and all the others who are working hard in programs across our province at colleges trades programs etc.) may someday be leaders in their chosen professions and future communities where they will settle. One thing we all know right now in this time of the global pandemic is that we need smart people who can solve problems work together be creative and take steps to deal with the challenges they face. It is obvious that a well educated society in all aspects is essential.

Right now in this global pandemic there are people like me who are staying home and doing the right things so that I follow the rules and contribute to society getting well and back to normal. And then there are the people who are problem solving their way through this. Doctors scientists health-care workers educators medical officers businesses. Grocery store owners restaurants and gas station owners have figured out how to stay open safely and to ensure that we have what we need. Builders are constructing the facilities for COVID testing and treatment. Musicians are working together to raise awareness and money to support. We are relying on smart people in all parts of society to get us through this.

So three cheers for our educators at all levels in all programs. We need you to keep educating and inspiring all these smart people. An educated society will get through the challenging times.