Saturday, July 14, 2012

Revolutionize Secondary Education?

I've been reflecting on ways to change the High School day, so that students get the most out of their educational experiences. .. I mean everybody is reflecting on that right?

Anyway, I was floating around on Pinterest looking for things that I can use in my classroom. I was searching words like English, Secondary, High School, even classroom and was surprised to find very few secondary teachers of any subject on Pinterest. In fact if you do a random Google Blog search the majority of teacher bloggers are elementary teachers. This piqued my interest (and honestly made me a little annoyed. Are all HS teachers miserly with their ideas?). Why are there so many elementary teachers online and so few HS teachers? The short answer is we have no time in comparison to our primary counterparts. But the answer to that question was so clearly demonstrated to me by my daughter's teacher.

In the middle of July, my future, first-grader received a postcard from her Kindergarten teacher! How does that woman have time to do something as special as send a postcard to every student in the middle of the summer? Oh wait! She only had 18 students for a full year! 18 students! How many did I have? 145 at least. Can you imagine the hand cramp 145 handwritten postcards would cause? Neither can I that's why I never even thought of attempting it.

So, I had a thought! What if High School looked more like elementary? What if High school teachers had fewer students? What kind of difference could we make in a student's life if we didn't have so many of them wandering around that we struggle to remember their names on daily basis? Wouldn't that revolutionize learning?

I mean I could do a lot to shape 18 or 20 writers a year. I could really get to know their needs and help them grow as readers over the course of a school year. 

So. . . what if we organized high school like this. . .

Morning: Communication, Social Studies, Literature. All taught by one teacher.
Science and Math taught together by one teacher (probably not the same as the one who's teaching the morning classes, because I don't know about you, but I'm one of those English teachers who is NO good at math!)
Then afternoon is 2 hours specialized in whatever the student wants to specialize in.
I think that would be fantastic! Don't you?

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