So, I quit. Friday was my last day. I spent the beginning of the weekend giggling at the idea of NOT having to pick out an outfit to wear to work on Monday because… I don’t work for anyone anymore.
Wait. I work for me now. With that in mind, I spent the backend of the weekend thinking through the plan. I have 2 cohorts in crime and we’ll be meeting this week to begin putting things together. Our focus: teaching children how to think, training teachers how learn, and beating the trolls at their own game.
Teaching to Think
The student demographic we’re focusing on has, for reasons beyond their control, been forced to learn in environments stuck firmly in 20th century mentalities of what learning should look like. As I explained to my honors class my last day, they are sitting in class learning exactly the same way I did 40 years ago…except with a computer in front of them at least part of the day. Which would be ok if what was on the computer was something that challenged them. It doesn’t. We’ll be fixing that for them and all the students still stuck, beyond their control in a 20th century learning environment.
Training to Learn
In some districts, teachers are provided the professional development choices they need to grow as educators and are being taught how to take control of their learning. In a few districts and in a LOT of charter based schools, this isn’t happening. Schools full of teachers who are capable, just unaware of the possibilities that could happen in their classrooms if they had the tools to help the students to become critical thinkers. How can they learn to think if they’re teachers don’t have the tools to challenge them? We’ll fix this too.
Trolling Toxic Education
There’s more to education than learning and rigor and accountability. There’s the non cognitive things out there that are so much more important. Not every child will go to college. Not every child WANTS to go to college. So what if Juan wants to be an auto mechanic or Jamila wants to do hair the rest of her life. IT’S THEIR LIFE! We prepare children for jobs they don’t want in a system that self perpetuates the notion that they can’t do “it” anyway. We’re going to fix that. It will be the hardest part of the puzzle, but I’ll go to my grave trying to make it happen in my little corner of the world. I swear I will. One size doesn’t fit all, let’s stop acting like it does, shall we?
I’ll just leave this right here. Joshua Katz says it better than me.