the Superintendent’s Seat
Are Always New Discoveries to Make, New Things to Learn
Carole G. Hankin with Randi T. Sachs
month I had the wonderful opportunity to accompany Syosset High
School’s Supreme Court Moot Trial Club on a visit to the U.S.
Supreme Court in Washington, DC. Earlier in the year I had met
Justice Steven Breyer at a national conference and he was kind
enough to invite us to come to the court, hear oral arguments,
and receive a private tour of the court.
I’ve been to Washington many times, but this was the first time
I had sat in on a session of the Supreme Court. I wasn’t expecting
to learn anything new, but I was very pleasantly surprised to
find that was exactly what happened. Seeing the court in action
with all nine justices present at the bench was an awesome experience,
and quite different from what I had expected. I know that the
students felt as I did – that this was a very special privilege.
The case we observed happened to be about the fourth amendment
and concerned search and seizure. I found it a comforting reassurance
that our individual rights are a matter of great importance, when
so much has been said about individual rights having to be sacrificed
in the name of national security.
As you plan trips to take with your children this summer, keep
in mind that an “educational” trip can be just as enlightening
for you as it is for your children. Even returning to visit a
historic sight you’ve seen many times can give you new insight
into events that occurred there and how they affected those times
and continue to impact our world today. Our own life experiences
affect how we will perceive the things we observe, and enable
us to see things from a new perspective each time. For example,
parents traveling with young children to Washington, DC, will
have a much different experience than those who travel with teens
or on their own. No matter what your children’s ages, you can
learn from one another.
For me, accompanying our high school students, who had already
demonstrated a great interest in the Supreme Court and had, in
fact, studied the Court’s history in depth, enhanced my own appreciation
of the Court. I admired the students’ preparation for the trip
and their ability to take in the proceedings, and I compared it
to my own experiences and knowledge of government.
Learning is stimulating at any age. As parents, we can get so
involved in making sure that our children are continually learning
that we can forget to enjoy the new discoveries that we can make
ourselves. It is not enough just to expose our children to new
concepts and knowledge, we need to show them just how interesting
and exciting it can be to learn. When you read something that’s
new to you, share that with your child. Let them see the pleasure
you get in learning and they will follow your example. Enjoy your
excursions with your children and allow yourself to acquire new
knowledge and understanding at every opportunity. #
Hankin is the Superintendent of the Syosset School District in
Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001. Tel:
(212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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