Where I work is a place that can bring me great joy. The word work is the wrong word actually. Since beginning this ‘gig’ 12 years ago, I refer to it as the place I teach and learn. I had two chances to interview for this role. Most of us only get one chance. I made the most of the second chance and the rest has been history.
What do I do? I teach and learn in a small school setting combining a traditional attendance model and home schooling. It was the ‘brain child’ of several families almost 20 year ago. They believed there was something of worth to take from both models and they helped to build a hybrid school.
I teach multi-grade junior high students three core subjects: English Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science while students attend each Tuesday and Thursday plus every other Monday. We provide complementary programming i.e. curling, food sciences, and archery. Students learn Math at home guided by their parents and with help from the teacher, in this case me. The home school component occurs on the non-attendance days and the teacher conducts regular home visits on those days, as well. Home visits help the child and/or parent with contentious Math concepts and build relationships with families.
This community uses a three-legged stool approach. Students, parents, and educators are all important contributors to the success and quality of learning and we all are learners on a journey together. Parents learn curriculum and teaching strategies assisting the learning of their children. They assist in the classroom on a regularly scheduled basis. Students grow to accept the learning journey belongs to them. They are companions in the learning enterprise and learning is with them. Teachers learn about the children and their families through open, honest conversation. What does each child need is a central question to the conversation. Most of all, the support needed for children’s success is in a community environment where we are partners and not adversaries. This is a relationship grounded in covenant as opposed to one centered on transactional contracts. We all commit and invest in something we dearly and deeply value.
I wanted to share this because we are an innovative educational project and some upcoming postings will share some of my experiences in this community of practice or learning organization.