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Jan 26, 2009

Too soon old - too late smart

I thought I understood the old Yiddish proverb 'too soon old - too late smart', but it's only now, in my grey-beard years, that I am painfully experiencing and emotionally appreciating the wisdom of those words. I have begun a Natural History course, through the University of Toronto's Continuing Education Program, at the Koffler Scientific Reserve, located at Jokers Hill, in King Township. It's a 22-week program that includes classroom lectures and studies, plus outdoor exploration of the physical environment of the Oak Ridges Moraine.

It is both mentally and physically challenging. -21C was the temperature on the first day we hiked through Jokers Hill. There were 17 of us ploughing through a good foot of snow and I kept bringing up the rear. That was so I could walk in the trail broken by the previous 16 hikers. Even so, I was still exhausted at the end of an hour and a half, and was extremely glad to get back at the classroom and my thermos of tea.

At the end of the 22 weeks, we will earn a certificate that allows us to be a docent at the Koffler Scientific Reserve or any other conservation facility, on or near the Oak Ridges Moraine. Never having gone to college or university, I have no acedemic degrees. Becoming a docent sounds pretty good to me, though. I looked up docent in my Oxford English Reference Dictionary, but alas, it is not listed. So, I 'Googled' it. Here's what Wikipedia had to say. In American English (but not in British English, where the word is not used), the word docent has two meanings: firstly, a professor or university lecturer; and secondly, the corps of volunteer guides who staff museums and other educational institutions. Docent is derived from the present participle (docens, docentis) of the Latin word docere, meaning "to teach".

Wow! I'm going to be a educator...who knew? When the time comes, I'll probably start out by instructing my grandchildren on things like slime mould and poisonous mushrooms. I'm sure I'll have more to say about this, plus have some photographs, as the months pass between now and next June. Until then, carpe diem. That's some more Latin, which roughly translated means "Get off your ass and do something!".
Please comment if you wish. BtheB

1 comment:

Bigwom said...

So true.
The mature students are always the best.