September 18, 2011

When I picture opening my own school, what do I picture?

To start with, I did not picture having to think so much about administration, but that is certainly a huge consideration in all of this thinking.

I know I can do it, I can learn the ins and outs of administrating a school, but do I want to?

I picture personalized education, which means quite a bit of independent learning, a great deal of checking in, dialogue, written communication, but also alternative methods of assessment and instruction.  Creativity in all subjects.

I see that learning can be accomplished through inquiry and curiosity, but it needs guidance to form it; I also see that so many principles of subjects—history, biology, math, literature, for example—are all around us, not just in the textbooks.  I want to teach students to be critical readers, writers, and thinkers.  But I also want to nourish the other component: the spirit.

If I ever open a school it will be a school of grace and compassion.  It will be modeled on Christ’s teachings but it will not be a Christian School per se.  I think it would be better as just a regular school.  Charter would be best but we do not yet have that option in Washington.

But I am very afraid, as I know that all of that detail exacerbates me and I often overlook what I need to pay attention to.

I see now, after reading some weblogs and websites, that there is much more to the task of opening and running a private (my own) school than just tinkering at the blackboard.  That is a bit of an exaggeration—I never saw it so simply, but I did not take the other subjects—math and science particularly, into consideration.  I really do not yet know what I am doing.

But the idea has taken hold; it has intrigued me for many years; since the year I first learned about Amos Bronson Alcott and Brookside (or was it Brook School?), the school he opened in Concord, Mass.  It was Orchard House, actually; I learn this from a comprehensive website dedicated to the man.

On that note, I believe that any school I ever do open will be modeled as much as possible on the principles of Bronson Alcott.  He spoke with students about Jesus, the Gospels, and Prayer; he hired musicians and artists to teach their crafts to students; and he stressed the importance of words.

I fear I have much to do, much work, that is.  Where to begin?  What to do?  Pause.  And pray.


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