For me, I had the same reservations. Strangely, teaching high school in Second Life is too close to my real life experience and a lot of us in Second Life are trying to separate the two. And even stranger, I teach High School Algebra. When making your dream in Second Life come true, the last thing I thought that would be is being a high school Algebra teacher.
Willowdale High School (WHS) is my first SL high school (yes, there are actually others out there!) and I’ve been there for almost a year. Why do I stay? Well, because it’s fun. But not only is WHS an education environment, it is also an RP. People role play as teachers, students, and WHS staff. This was a new experience for me because I’m not a general RP’er. There are times I’ve found myself having to role play as a teacher with the students and times I’ve actually taught something in class. Then again, isn’t this the same in real life?
What makes Willowdale different than a high school in real life? People want to be here. In the real world going to high school is something that is unavoidable (unless you are homeschooled). At Willowdale it is not necessary to attend all the classes. You can attend the ones you like, and the classes have variety so there is something for everybody. Not everyone likes Algebra (I guess I can live with that). There is also the same reason why anyone would want to be in Second Life. You can be who you want to be at Willowdale. If you were a jock in high school in real life, you may role play to be a nerd or vice versa.
For those who wish to be teachers at Willowdale, it can be a difficult adjustment, as it was for me, when you realize the amount of role play involved. It makes one wonder how much is role play and how much is education. However, it is pretty balanced. Rose did say that it is tipped towards the education side, and I’d have to agree with the amount of work it takes to do my lesson plans and get my worksheets ready.
Not only does Rose get to learn from a student vantage point, she is also president of the student council and can see how the other half lives, i.e. the teachers. She gets a bird’s eye view of the students and the teachers and can provide harmony for both, or as she says “be on the same hymn sheet.”
Rose also had this to say about Student council: “Student council is still in the early stages of finding it's feet and as yet some students and teachers may well not of heard of us yet. We do exist and like the school we exist primarily for the student body. We are here to represent each and every one of the students who attend Willowdale High School and we are proud to do so. Changes are taking place and changes do not happen overnight. I am honored to be school president and work alongside a fantastic team of councilors within school council and we try to work as a team. So watch this space for some changes happening soon.”
Of course, Willowdale High School is not only for the students, it is also for teachers as well. Even though, I am a teacher, I thought it would be weird to interview myself, so I interviewed the Home Ec. Teacher, Ms. Candi Blacktear. Ms. Blacktear’s class runs Tuesdays from 4pm to 5pm SL and Wednesdays 2pm to 3pm SL. For Ms. Blacktear, education is about walking away with something more than you came with. About Willowdale, she says “It’s a whole family experience, linked with NGI and other organizational structures and it keeps growing.” This is true because Willowdale is a small part of NGI (Next Generation Inc.) which is the Adoption Agency.
Talking with both Rose and Ms. Blacktear made me realize that Willowdale High School is an educational experience. There is the role play aspect added to the educational aspect, but both added together create the rewarding experience found within the school. That experience is just a small part of the organization known as NGI. NGI brings a whole family experience where children have parents and parents can adopt children. With this, the family can attend Willowdale.
Why would anyone want to go to a high school in Second Life, specifically Willowdale? The same reason anyone would want to go to high school in real life. Education, enrichment and fun.
Willowdale is currently accepting students. See the kiosk at the reception area to register. Willowdale is also hiring for teachers. Applications can be found at the reception area; here's the slurl.
To find out more about NGI Adoption Agency or to register for WHS, contact Hunter Fischer. If you're interested in applying to be a teacher, contact Landon Edenbaum.
Thank you for reading. This is Amanda432 Cheviot reporting for SL Enquirer and Press Pass Media.