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If learning is what we value, then we ought to value the process of learning as much as the result of learning. By nature, people are attracted to activities where they feel free of psychological or emotional pain. Learning is promoted in a climate where people feel safe and cared for. The adage, "People don't care what you know until they know you care," is applicable.
What is a school for? To socially-engineer kids and thereby try to transform society along ideological lines? Or to educate every child as much as possible as an end in itself?
I've said it before. In public education, there are more sad stories than happy endings. Even so, after graduation this year I have to admit that the happy endings might outweigh all that bad stuff. Well, not really, but at least for one glorious day, you can take a look at what accomplishment looks like.
A bright eighth grader came home distraught one day. The child's mom asked, "What's wrong?" The child's answer was disheartening. "I want to be home schooled. School isn't fun like it used to be. Teachers are so mean." The concerned mom talked to her child...
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. I encourage you to read it and then to write your own academic and curriculum philosophy.
When I first started teaching, it was exciting. I loved education and working with young people. I was very idealistic and as corny as it may sound, I thought in my own way I was changing the world. Through the years, my initial excitement turned to stress and anxiety. Teaching was an overwhelming responsibility. The stress of dealing with students, papers, lesson plans, report cards, principals, supervisors, co-workers, and parents would weigh down on me and