In my mind, I picture a school where the students are respected and treated almost as equals to their teachers and administrators. Now, obviously, there must be a bit of hierarchy established. Otherwise, anarchy would ensue. However, that doesn’t mean you have to treat hem as though they are second-class citizens within the school. In my ideal school, students are treated as though they are the adults they are capable of becoming. This school would be very small in size, roughly a 10-1 student-teacher ratio. It would also likely be very expensive, and needless to say- private. The “pick your classes” theme and allowed independence of thought, would attract some great minds to come, I believe. Essentially I want to provide a space for free thought and intense exploration where students don’t feel bound to be what someone else tells them they must be. I found an article during my research that seemed to perfectly mirror my philosophy on how American schools have transitioned, and how I believe we will continue to transition. This article focuses on Chinese career education. Obviously, the US has never forced people into jobs in the same way the Chinese government has, but there has been strong coercing. I believe that we should be on par with China when it comes to careers and education. China is currently in a period that they call the “Career Counseling” period. Whereas before this they were in the “Career Education” stage. (Zhou, Li, Gao, 2016) I believe that in the US we are still in the Career Education stage and we must move to the Counseling stage and allow students to choose paths for themselves while simply advising them. We are simply still in the stage of coercing and pushing, counseling is different than this. Counseling is what I want to see.
My school will be focused on professional development and free learning. Students will have the utmost choice in how they choose their classes and path, with advice of course. I believe students are sometimes put too much into a bubble of what they MOST be and not what they could be. While I believe teachers are a special group, I also believe that all types of people have the potential to teach others and that people coming from experience in an industry may be able to teach from their experiences in a way that some who have been career educators may not. Also, I believe that educators do not give students the credit they deserve in the idea that students can think for themselves, and understand what they need and want to do with their lives (with advice.) Much like the story you told with 3 people doing push-ups. The students can choose however they want to get to those, how they choose to train. In this metaphor, the training is their classes, and the final push ups are their degree. Liberal arts would be an accurate description of the early years part of my school, while I believe focus learning would be an accurate description of the second half of learning in my school. While reading an article on reviving liberal learning, I realized that focus learning for the entirety of schooling could actually harm students. That is why, in the early stages students must learn the sciences, math, language arts, as well as philosophy and other Socratic disciplines. If students are not given the chance to learn, to experience, all of these different kinds of disciplines; how will they know what they want to learn? This is why we must allow them to first experience all kinds of learning, to allow them to see for themselves what they want to choose. To quote the same article mentioned above, “Undergraduates who forsake too many humanities courses fail to see an overarching reality: Over years and decades, leadership accrues to the man or woman who understands the human condition.” (Dunn 2016). While I believe this quote to be true, I believe it to be true for both humanities and sciences. Yet, I also believe that no man (or woman) can be forced into being a scholar of either, it must be an educated choice. That is the overarching theme of what I want this school to consist of, educated choices by bright young minds.
Teachers and staff will consist of people who have come from industries and transitioned to teaching. Obviously, some education background will be a requirement, but not the focus. Former business professionals and leaders will be the teachers, while the administrators will have a heavier educational background requirement. Much like that of a college where broadcast professors should come from a broadcast field, or science teachers having a background in a science field. (I.e., chemistry teachers will have worked as chemists for a company) These teachers should have a minimum of 5 years experience in their given field, as well as at least one-year training or teaching as well-attended educational seminars. Additionally, teachers who have participated in career education seminars would be perfect applicants A perfect example of these seminars, or ways to make teacher more business savvy, would be Lesson2Life. Lesson2Life is a seminar in which “participating teachers gain insight into today’s workforce so they can then teach students the skills and information necessary to be successful when they seek careers of their own.” (Merz, S., & Wiebke, K., 2015). This seems to be a perfect model for how I want my teachers to engage students. This seminar takes place over three days and “consists mostly of site visits or ‘learning exchanges’ to local businesses. Teachers tour facilities, participate in group activities, hear talks by business leaders, and engage in open-ended discussions about education and careers. At the end of the program, participants meet for a celebratory luncheon to discuss what they learned and how they plan to implement what they learned in their classrooms.” (Merz, S., & Wiebke, K., 2015). I believe this seminar would be vital to teachers in my ideal school, in addition to all schools across the nation.
Early coursework will be that of basic 101 type classes, learning the basics. While later courses will be more career oriented. The students will choose each and every class they take. Early courses will be STEM-based until an advisor gives the go-ahead for students to choose their own classes. This will be a case-by-case basis. Business-minded students would be influenced to take business courses, but if they feel the need to take theater courses or math courses they may do so. All "homework" should be completable by the end of the school day, however, after school programs will be created to help those students who choose to take advantage of them.
Career development and career specific instruction. Engagement will be very personal, small class sizes and personable educators will be of the utmost importance. I want the teachers to have personal relationships with their students, someone they would list as a reference on a job application.
Assessment will be via a board of teachers the student has had. A portfolio of work should be presented at the end of each year by each student. The student will choose what they believe to be their best work in each class, then a board of teachers and administrators will give this student a single grade for the period (semester/year) based on their total performance. Additionally, each teacher will give a "subgrade" based on the totality of work in the given class that period.
The environment will be based on the teacher's choices. If a teacher feels professional dress and environment should be met, it will. If a teacher feels a more relaxed environment is necessary it will be. The environments could possibly even be separated by the class “type.” Essentially, I would like to run a college-like atmosphere. The campus would have separate buildings for the major disciplines, a separate building that would house rotating electives, and finally a main “greeting” building. These buildings will give the atmosphere of academia.
To conclude, my ideal school would consist of heavy career education where student choice and freedom is placed as the highest priority. Teachers would come from the professional world or have an extensive background in career education. The school would be for the best and brightest students with a strong support system behind them. These students would be treated as adults and expected to act like such. They would be assessed by their entire portfolio of work for a given period rather than the focus being on an assignment by assignment basis. All in all, my school's students would be exponentially more prepared for the “real world” than students coming from other schools.
DUNN, J. J. (2016). Reviving Liberal Education. America, 215(9), 22.
Goldstein, D. (2014). The teacher wars: A history of America's most embattled profession. New York: Doubleday.
Merz, S., & Wiebke, K. (2015). Business fills a gap between teacher and student. Phi Delta Kappan, 96(6), 33. doi:10.1177/0031721715575297
Parkay, F. W., & Stanford, B. H. (2016). Becoming a teacher (10th ed.). Boston: Pearson.
Zhou, X., Li, X., & Gao, Y. (2016). Career Guidance and Counseling in Shanghai, China: 1977 to 2015. Career Development Quarterly, 64(3), 203-215.
Essay on my ideal classroom set up for elementary school children. My ideal classroom is not entirely, but almost based on fun. My main objective is to have kids come into my class room and feeling that Ms. English’s classroom is a whole lot of fun. Not only do I want my classroom to be fun, but I also want it to be a special place for all of my children. My ideal classroom would have all of the services for all of my children to learn, grow, and thrive. At the same time, I want my classroom to be simple and not too busy.
I feel a busy classroom tends to make children feel overwhelmed and more easily distracted. As far as seating arrangements go I would have to be with my class for at least a full week to figure out the configurations of the classroom. I would most likely situate the children in a group format so that they can socialize and interact with each other. I would form this group configuration based on my observations on who works well together and where the distractions originate from etc. My desk would be situated where I could see all of my students.
If I were to get a Kindergarten classroom I would probably situate the seats in a group setting or large tables. If I had a third grade classroom I would definitely have a big group meeting mat where everyone can gather around during class meetings. I would also make sure to have comfortable chairs and a big couch for children to grab books and read. I want my students to have a comfortable place where they can read and relax. This furniture would be situated right next to my library area.
I would have a huge library for my students. The bigger the library, the more books and you can never have enough books in a classroom. I would also have a computer center in my classroom. I feel that children need many tools in order to learn and grow. Even though a computer is a machine, I feel that it is a vital part of the classroom. I would hope to have at least two computers for my students to work on. Some children do not have access to computers at home and I think that they are a huge tool for a child’s success.
They also bring in technology in the classroom which is important. Next to the computer station I would love to have a science center where children can work directly with their hands. I want a “hands-on” center where children can try new things and learn about animals and plants etc. I think it would be fun for my students to learn and at the same time just “fool” around with all the neat science “stuff. ” A “quiet” area is another part of my ideal classroom. I think a quiet area would be very beneficial for my students.
I would try and enclose a couple of desks off in a corner with bookshelves for any children who need some alone or work time. My classroom would also have many visuals. I want every part of my classroom to be learning aides. The children should learn from what I put on the walls. I would have many signs up for the different centers and put up the alphabet (in Murray format of course), drawings, pictures, colors, numbers, shapes, basically everything to cater to the grade level that I teach. I would also make sure that I cater to any of the special needs students that I probably will have.
This write up of my ideal classroom is obviously not perfect; however, I feel that it is an adequate sketch of how I would visualize my own classroom. I think being in the actual environment, and getting to know your students, along with learning from experience on what works and what doesn’t is what will help me set up my classroom. Daily Routine 8:30-9:00-Morning Meeting/Opening Circle 9:00-10:30-Reading/Language Lessons 10:30-11:00-Reading 11:00-12:00-Math Lessons 12:00-1:00-Lunch 1:00-1:30-Social Studies/Science 1:30-2:15-Movement/Physical Activity/Special 2:30-3:00-Reading/Class activity/Dismissal.