You’re invited to walk with me through the labyrinth that is my mind.
It’s Thanksgiving break and I’m on the other side of the country, where arguably my education journey began.
((Okay fine, it started earlier than that but then that would kill the poetic vibe of time and kismet intersecting so just throw me a bone.))
A lot has happened since the start of the school year and I just thank God that school is going well because He knows what my personal life has been like.
Anyway, I want to think a bit on the original purposes of this blog: to challenge, propose, reflect, share. I think I’ve spent a lot doing the latter two, but not much the first.
I remember seven years ago, not feeling qualified to jump into higher level ed positions, and I’m so glad I opted to return to the classroom before attempting curriculum development, research, or thinktank work. I’m also glad I’m in the classroom because I really love interacting with people on the daily, and if I like it, there’s one less position to fill with a person who doesn’t.
I’ve been thinking though. In the last few years, I feel like I’ve limited a lot of my life choices. And in light of recent events, I feel more at liberty to pursue things and the political climate is constantly shifting.
I want to continue working with kids but it’s exhausting feeling like a cog, being victim to an overworked, underpaid institution due to bloated overhead costs and a mistaken prioritization of… well, lots of things.
I’m not saying this lightly, but I’d like to start a school for the invisible. In a way, I would embody Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Fraulein Maria, and Hogwarts. Invisible children would attend a boarding school where from 6th-10th, they’d daily hike up a literal mountain rain or shine, engage in regular lessons in the morning, then apply themselves to a rotation of electives (and eventually pick a focus later on). From 11th-12th, they’d choose to either continue in academia via online and community college classes while others may engage in more hands-on apprenticeships or internships. Adults would take on a more advisory role.
If I made it a charter, could the government pay for their programs and food?
What if our location was just outside the city so that on weekends, we could serve as a wedding venue? I’m not even joking.
By eighth grade, all kids should have a plan discussed with an advisor. By tenth, that should all be able to read and write in a way that helps them engage with and understand society. They should have a working knowledge of history and how it affects current politics and why certain things are not okay. Math… They need the background to help them understand logic and statistics. If a kid wants to go into a field where colleges have math prerequisites, they should be good with trig by tenth.
By eighth grade, they should all know how to cook, know if they like music, acting, or art, how to camp, and how to figure out a project.
Just floating ideas.
I could imagine starting with a class of 24 kids, dorm parents, 2 teachers, different electives adults, therapists, and gradually expand.
This school would only be for kids who are invisible or about to be. The ones who get shuttled from home to home and at the age of 18, disappear into a statistic.
We would take standardized tests, but my biggest discovery was made in my fourth year of teaching and continues to be confirmed: high test scores mean nothing. It doesn’t correlate with perseverance or future success. My most academically brilliant kids have ended up in the most wack situations. This connects to the old, old research that the highest factor indicating a successful future is whether or not your parents had one.
So…. I’ll do them. But.. see poem below.