His physics lab temporarily transformed into a kind of makeshift kitchen, Qatar Academy teacher Walter Gammon was in his element talking to several 12th graders. That day, however, they weren’t discussing their Theory of Knowledge course which Gammon also teaches and which students must pass in order to receive their International Baccalaureate Diploma Program certificate. Today’s presentation is really about preparing them for life after they get that coveted degree and go on to college.
“It’s an idea that came up a few years ago when we were discussing how best to use counseling time for graduate students,” says Grade 12 manager Claire Coull. “The advising teachers and I thought it was important that our students have some insight and preparation for their college years when they will have to be more responsible for looking after themselves.”
The result is a series of life skills sessions scheduled over the next few weeks. Presentations are informal yet hands-on and hands-on, with the teachers themselves putting on demonstrations for the benefit of their students.
The menu for today’s cooking session with Walter Gammon includes rice cooked in a beaker and pasta sauce made from the simplest ingredient: canned tomatoes. “I’ve met people in college who can’t cook for themselves because they can’t open a can even though its (canned ingredients) are cheaper and easier to use.” Her light-hearted approach to her demonstration helps her get her point across. “My point is, none of this is difficult and you can easily do it yourself,” he says.
It’s the same message that David McIlroy tried to convey to his group who tried their hand at ironing. After watching a few how-to videos online, the students tried their hand at ironing the clothes before a friendly competition took place to see who can effectively iron out all the wrinkles in the sample uniform. To ensure they retain today’s ‘lesson’, students have put together a step-by-step guide which will be available on the school’s Moodle platform, according to McIlroy.
“Life skills will include cooking, washing, ironing, changing a car tyre, jump starting, checking oil and banking skills. It’s basically about giving students a chance to try out these skills while having fun! Coull ends.