A number of years ago, when I was a co-founder of a private school in our community, we had the opportunity to build a school from the ground up, including writing the philosophy of the school. Rereading this early draft gave me pause recently. I encourage you to read it and then to write your own academic and curriculum philosophy. Write it as if you had NO constraints. Then obtain your school's or school district's philosophy. Is there a match? Whether the answer is 'yes' or 'no,' the next question is 'Now what?"
The academic philosophy of the new school is that middle school students are capable of extraordinary learning. With this in mind, a balanced, integrated curriculum, emphasizing a rigorous, academic course of study, will be developed. Founders of this school believe the following, regarding schooling:
1. The natural task of the human brain is to learn and to think - both critically and creatively. The job of teachers is to facilitate this learning and this thinking - sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly. The school day will demonstrate the belief that all students can learn.
2. Teachers have extraordinary influence on the students they teach and they wield tremendous power. The teachers at the new school will be positive role models of critical and creative thinking and will embody academic achievement and love of learning.
3. Teachers will be the best and the brightest at this new school. Excellent teachers will learn, grow, and be inspired through continuing professional education. Continuing education will be provided and encouraged for teachers to assure that they remain among the best in their field.
4. Literacy is power. Students at the new school will develop written and oral skills to allow them to be powerful in their communication. In addition, students will be inspired to see the connections between the core areas of study.
5. The academic mission of the new school will be to teach students so that they may approach their potential - in the middle school years and throughout their lives.
The primary purpose of the new school will be to provide its students with the academic and mental tools necessary to allow them to be successful in the new millennium.
Again, I encourage you to write your own. Then, do one of the following:
- create a classroom where you truly live by your philosophy
- find a place where you can live and teach by your philosophy
- bring others together and collaborate with them as you all generate a philosophy that you can hold as being the best for students.
For most teachers, teaching is such a significant part of their lives that if they are in situations that run counter to their beliefs, an excruciating toll is exacted. It's not worth it. Create, find, or collaborate to be able to teach in a way that is 'in synch' with your beliefs.
Educators have the most influential positions in our society--and need every bit of support that can be mustered. Access the resources at the websites below to assist you in your sense of peaceful, predictable productivity:
**Top Ten Productivity Tips
**Owning Words for Literacy
(c) 2008 by Meggin McIntosh, Ph.D., "The Ph.D. of Productivity"(tm)
Through her company, Emphasis on Excellence, Inc., Meggin McIntosh changes what people know, feel, dream, and do via seminars, workshops, writing, coaching, and consulting.