This week’s readings:
This week we read several different articles discussing education in schools today, specifically how students may not be learning in the most productive way. Two articles that talked about different ways to teach students were Children Educate Themselves and It Really Is Okay to Leave School . Both articles were about a school with the belief that students’ learning is done with complete choice in what they learn.
In the article, Children Educate Themselves the school’s name is Sudbury Valley School. In this school all the students starting at the age of 4 years old to high school seniors as well as the staff members all are equals in decision making. The thought is that adults do not control the students’ education, the students educate themselves. Staff members do not have tenure and students along with the adults vote on the hiring and firing of staff members. The school is ran like a democratic government at a weekly School Meeting to decide any decision at that school.
In the article, It Really Is Okay to Leave School the school’s name is North Star School. Every student is on an academic plan that is produced in partnership with the student, and each student is assigned a personal advisor. Some guiding principles of North Star is that young people want to learn and learning happens everywhere. The belief is that it is okay to leave what is considered traditional school.
The other articles that I read this week discussed different feelings that people have about school. One that I found interesting was 9 Elephants in the Classroom . This article discusses 9 things that happen in the classroom setting that hinders the learning in students. For example #2 talks about how students are bored and disengaged in school, #4 not assessing many of the things that really matter for future success, and #5 grades, not learning, are the outcomes that students and parents are most interested in. An elephant that is discussed in this article that I found the most interesting was #6 curriculum is just a guess. I found this interesting because as a teacher for 22 years, I have spent an amazing amount of time at workshops and staff meetings discussing curriculum. This is just absolutely mind boggling to me and hard to wrap my head around.
So, after I read all of these articles I felt very frustrated. First, I am going to say that I am very proud of being a teacher, and I am very proud to be a public school teacher. I work my butt off to educate every student who walks into my classroom. I spend hours coming up with lessons that are engaging and to create an atmosphere that encourages creativity, curiosity, and choice. I take college classes and workshops to learn all that I can to enable students to succeed in their future endeavors. Also, I teach with many teachers that do the exact same as I do. We eat, breath, and think teaching at all times. So when I say that I was very frustrated with these articles, I felt that they were putting down public school educators when using words like deschooling/unschooling and using words like hazing when describing the practices in schools. That made me absolutely sick! There are many great and amazing public school teachers!