I was asked where I work this week. It went something like this... "I work for Epic Charter School!"
And then I get the..."oh, hm.!
And then I am all - you dismissive cuss! I could teach you a few things too. Except I don't really say that, but I am forced to word vomit all over the guy telling him about my school and how it really is closer to his than he thinks. And damnit I am feeling on the defensive and I am good at what I do.
I was asked to write an essay this week in one of my Grad classes. The topic was along the lines of Jason James prompting March 23rd, so I will share. Better late than never? If I were King of #Oklaed. Sorry it’s 667 words...
I have a beef with public schooling. It is not something housed in your school building. It is housed in your heart and mind. I dislike greatly the competition between schools and districts. I am not talking about the Jenks v Union rivalries. I abhor that there has to be a huge fight between types of schools. I WORK FOR A CHARTER. I said it. I do.
In the consultant and educational leader circles, which I often associate with, there is a huge line drawn in the sand about how the teacher in the traditional public school has to be better because they have far more dire circumstances to overcome. I saw 4 articles in #oklaed this week dealing with charters and school choice.
This argument infuriates me because in the very next conversation “they” wish for a more direct route to teaching; they want less barriers and more pay.
In my school, I have less barriers and if I do my job well, I get more pay.
Sidebar - we are an open charter with nearly 5000 students in all 77 counties of this great state. We take them all.
I have the things teachers long for and now I am scrutinized for it. I work for a charter, therefore my ideas now have far less weight behind them. I have fewer obstacles standing in my way so I get to REALLY teach. The kind of teaching that teachers sometimes see in the movies and think doesn’t exist.
I want my school to perform among one of the highest in the state. It’s not there yet, not close. I don’t think there should be an asterisk next to my name or qualifications just because my school operates in a building or without one. My credentials should be no less equitable to another teacher because my curriculum is textbook and lecture based or virtually delivered. When it comes down to it, we know...there is science backed research that says children do not learn the same content the same way across the board. We now teach to multiple intelligences and develop individualized approaches to the child. We have been breaking lessons into small groups for years to reach children at their abilities. Why does the location of this learning make me or the next person any less of a teacher?
If I had the power to fix this it would come from mandatory visits each year to the different schools across the state. We need to share ideas and learn the approaches that are working with the successful schools and their students. We need to bring SOME of those ideas back into our building or district. We should welcome opportunities for this kind of growth. A great economy is held together by applying a little bit of each theory in moderation. I think that schooling our youth can be done in much the same manner. It will take leaders who are ready to risk being open and vulnerable. It will take district leaders who are ready to break a mold.
That is all, let the wrecking balls demolish and the torches be thrown.