You work at a school that has no grades? You work at school that does not give homework?
You work at a school that does not give tests? You work at a school that does not give report cards?
From these questions you may think that we are not a school at all. Welcome to Progressive Education- its not just a place where children do whatever they want, it is not unstructured but it does allow for freedom. A concept more schools should embrace. There are no grades because I believe that every child learns at their own pace. No two people learn the same material at exactly the same time or in the same manner. Children that excel at reading should be able to grow, children that need support should be given the time to get the proper support. No child should "fall through the cracks" because there should be no cracks. Every child should be learning to their individual potential. I once read a story that made perfect sense to me, it was during a parent teacher conference:
Parent- "How is my child doing compared to the other children in her class?"
Teacher- "Your child is doing fantastic compared to the other children in her class but this is the dumbest class I have ever had."
No two children are the same, why compare them to one another?
There is no homework because time at home should be time to spend with family. Parents and children have full schedules as it is- time at home should be time with family. There is also an on-going study supporting the idea that there is no correlation between academic success and homework. Here is another short observation- Next time you are done filing your taxes with the accountant ask him if when he goes home he would like to work on more financial plans that will be looked at and then thrown in the trash.
Personally I think that the best way to learn is by making mistakes, learning and then doing things differently next time. The way that tests are conducted all that children are required to do is to memorize the correct information. Modern tests are by no means a measure of learning. A wise director once explained it this way- one of the best ways to learn is to make mistakes and try again differently until you succeed. The problem with tests is that if you make enough mistakes you fail. That does not encourage learning, it encourages rote memorization with no context of learning.
There are no report cards because I believe children deserve more from me. School and learning are challenging. Learning to navigate the many rules of phonics and reading can be very difficult for a young child. Academics are a part of school but there is so much more to children. Saying good-bye to your parents on the first day of school is hard, making friends with other children is not easy, learning to solve problems using language instead of arguing or fighting is challenging and some adults never learn it. Standing in front of a group to give a presentation is a huge success, traveling from building to building is challenging, having the confidence to stand up for yourself is life-long, learning to treat others kindly regardless of differences is unmeasureable. All of these things are part of learning and for these reasons..children deserve more from me as an educator.
And so..the point of this post. It is time for me to type 18 Year End evaluations. My evaluations are done in narrative form with an Overview for each subject. In the end I will have typed approx. 127 pages including the Overviews. So this will be the last blog post until my Evaluations are done. It is also our Second Annual Graduate White Water Rafting Trip with Moxie Outdoor Adventures! Pictures of this to follow on our return.
Thank You for reading. Thank You for helping expand my audience and please, if you like it- share it. Maybe someday I can publish a book, be self employed and have a farm with lots of animals. For more posts check out