Summer Doubts on the Nature of Schools

Every year at about this time, I come to a horrifying realization: school is a completely cruel, artificial setting. Who locks 30 children in a room, forces them to listen and work for hours? What monstrous zookeeper would ever go along with such a plan? I have a sudden urge to join an extreme activist group that would go from school to school releasing the prisoners. Yes, let’s set up a Children’s Liberation Organization! Establish a sanctuary for all our rescued children! Repeat after me, Children are not ours to experiment on!

And so, every year, I recommit to creating a school for “The Ethical Treatment of Children.”

This school must abide by the following guidelines:

*allow for adequate movement and space

*build in time for talk

*strive to reduce stress by creating a climate of curiosity and laughter

*allow for creative expression and encourage diversity

*take itself seriously, but not that seriously (as Mark Twain said, “Never let formal education get in the way of your learning.”)

Whenever I start to get that “caged animal” feeling, I need to go back to these basics.

Can anyone relate?


3 thoughts on “Summer Doubts on the Nature of Schools

  1. i probably shouldn’t comment, since i just today had my three kids submit an essay to me about their camping trip to long beach this year (obviously a LITTLE bit of caged animal is okay with me, and can ya tell i’m an ex-teacher or what?)!!!
    i agree whole-heartedly with your list of guidelines.

  2. Searching for inspiration today, I typed in your name on Google and reread all your blog entries. They make an awesome guide for a beginning teacher and for one, like me, who is close to retirement. We all need to be reminded of what’s important, and that’s what you do. And I love the way you tell us–clearly, simply, and with humor.
    I miss your voice, Twila! Hope to hear it here again.

    • You are just the push I need! Thank you for your kind comments. I was just thinking about how little I know after so many years of teaching! Maybe I need to retread my own stuff. Hope you have a great year. I am working with Shelley this year. Bit nervous! Will keep you posted.

      Sent from my iPad

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