Many of the school reforms we've come across use the "superhero model" of teaching. We've probably all seen inspiring segments on the evening news, shared on social media, or on an Oprah segment about a one-of-a-kind super-energized, hyper-successful teacher. We even highlight some of these teachers on this website. We absolutely love that such teachers exist, but we don't feel that it's healthy, necessary, or even remotely possible to fill every classroom with super-teachers who seemingly have endless amounts of time, energy, enthusiasm, and sometimes access to extra financial resources. Instead, we want to create school environments where any trained teacher can facilitate kids to become super students through their own organic learning process. (We go more into this on our "New Model" page.)
The standard classroom of today, as it has for well over a century, consists of a teacher standing in front of a classroom of kids, imparting specific knowledge, training the kids to be good test-takers, and each student following the exact same learning path. The students are inevitably at different levels as far as knowledge, maturity, self-discipline, and socioeconomic background. Teachers are expected to prepare each lesson, lead it, then find some way to evaluate every student in an unbiased way. To succeed, they also have to be classroom managers, disciplinarians, and bureaucrats. On top of all this, teachers have to be motivational speakers, figuring out ways to "get" kids to do things they would really rather not be doing.
The model we are putting forth meets the students where their passions already are and guides them through the educational process by putting each one on an individual personal student growth program, and then using things like online curricula, peer-based mentoring, community engagement, and project-based learning to achieve educational goals. This type of education requires a lot less prep time from the teacher, yet students end up with far more learning opportunities and potential.
Gone is the need to figure out a way to coerce every kid to do a task they would rather not be doing. Instead, the teacher's job is to ignite a student's curiosity, becoming what we like to call a "life-learning facilitator."
The public school model we are advocating for radically changes the superhuman expectations schools tend put on teachers. Like all of us, teachers are far more effective when they feel loved, appreciated, enthusiastic, and fulfilled by their job. This will allow teachers to build relationships with the kids and the community beyond. Teachers will get to see the "light come on" within the kids. Teachers will feel supported and reinvigorated.
This may seem difficult to believe, or pie-in-the-sky, but the models we are proposing have been successfully implemented in schools in the United States and beyond, with teachers having far higher job satisfaction and far less stress. We hope you will continue reading the other pages on this website to see what the education revolution could look like. 😀
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