Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Still learning

After that Christmas do with the school that wasn't Pt. England, a thought had occurred to me. And now seems like the perfect time to bring it up.

Part of what was bothering me is that I can see the differences. It's quite obvious. So why can't others see it?

It turns out that no school - at least none that I've come across - would ever admit to not being progressive. Whether it's a reworking of the curriculum or approaches to technology or an emphasis on sport.

But this is very much a tree falling in the woods with no one to hear it. If you're not communicating with similar institutions, are you really being progressive? Are you really being progressive or just a bit more progressive than you were being? Where do you fit in in a much larger sample size? Have you done what I've described of creating a culture that excludes those outside of yourself?

So while indulging in pizza at this Christmas event, I asked a friend "Have you ever considered trying a different school for a year?".

The answer was less than encouraging. It was simply "Better the devil you know".

Following on this line of enquiry, I asked another person how long they'd been at that school. The answer? She's only a young person. Probably low thirties? (I should know this. I was at her birthday party). 9 years. 9 years at the same school.

That's shocking! Just think - there's no perspective there. They don't really know what's out there. The really troubling bit for me though, is that these small ecosystems seem to be encouraged. No one wants to give up a good teacher.

But, would that teacher be better from getting more perspective? Is this protective attitude actually hindering the development of teachers? Isn't the aim to teach our kids? And to do so, good teachers are needed.

This means a certain amount of risk. Perhaps they won't like where they're going to. I don't think I've ever done a job that hasn't given me some perspective. Regardless of whether I've walked away sour or not. Not knowing that I'd hate the job is a blessing.

The question is how can this be improved? Is there the opportunity for some sort of "teacher exchange" programme? The better a school's teachers are, the better they're able to educate and attract more students.

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