In this article, I explore questions related to the educators and staff of this dream school. If money were no object, how would a school be staffed?
The last post focused on the practical needs of the students and the mission statement. I attempted to create an environment in which students are at the center. Our mission is to support students as they learn to think critically, to problem solve and innovate, and to live a life of service.
Here is a link to the reading list. I believe it will update as I publish.
The best way to support that development — which, in my opinion, leads to a full and fulfilling life — is to recruit educators who also value these ideals.
But wait! There’s more. 😀
The educators who would enjoy working at the school would be those who are disruptors of “traditional” education. They yearn to educate in a different way, to explore cross-curricular connections, and to co-teach with others outside their “content area.” They strive to blur the lines between discrete subjects and find the touch-points where “subjects” intersect.
Additionally, educators would have no problem being highly involved in student life. For example, we would need dorm parents. From what I have read, that sounds fascinating and fun, if a bit overwhelming at times.
Who would make the perfect head master? Who would do well in our administration?
I already have the perfect head master in mind, but that is between his wife and me. Please do not read into that a preference for a particular gender. I just happen to know the person I think would be perfect for the job.
That said, the head master would be, above all, student-centered. The HM’s first priority would be the well-being of the students, and he or she would embrace the education of the whole child.
Of course, HMs need to be well-versed in all the other practical matters related to running a school, but more importantly, they must be willing to learn. They must be collaborative with other faculty and staff, as well as peers among those who run schools.
Finally, HMs need to know how to choose the perfect staff to support the HM role, including assistants, administrative assistants (you know they run the school, right?), and disciplinarians. Yes, I intentionally used the term “disciplinarian.” I think it’s unfortunate that the term has fallen into disrepute, even if I understand why. There is no need for a disciplinarian to be unduly harsh with students. Instead, they should be a role model for exemplary behavior and help students learn how to treat others fairly, with respect and dignity. That’s for another post.
Who would make the perfect educational professional?
There are so many professionals we need. Teachers, paraprofessionals (how I wish I could be a para… if only the benefits were there…), counselors, psychologists, and the like.
These educators would be happiest if they believed in disrupting education as we know it, and if they were dedicated to serving the “whole child.”
Who would make the perfect school medical professional?
In our school, there would definitely be more than one. Since money is no object, we could hire an M.D. and several nurses who specialize in youth-oriented medicine. I would also argue that psychologists should be part of the medical staff.
The medical professionals should be involved in several ways with the students, faculty, and staff. For example, they could help teachers with certain lessons. Could you imagine the school psychologist coming to literature class to discuss a novel through a psychological lens? Why not? I can also see doctors and nurses having a lot of fun helping kids learn anatomy and physiology.
Who would make the perfect nutrition specialist and all the other wrap around services a school needs?
We would need a nutrition specialist and staff that could develop meals for teenagers that support their growth and development, preferably from local sources.
We would also need custodial staff that could attend to all the needs of the grounds and buildings. They should also support any students who express interest in any aspect of the buildings, from gardening to engineering.
After all, we are all educators.
One more post…
In the next post, I will address these questions.
- What is the overarching teaching and learning philosophy that will guide all of us?
- How should the curriculum be organized? What is the purpose of the curriculum?
- What would the schedule look like?
- How would we explain our curriculum and learning targets to colleges and other post-secondary organizations?
I hope you’ll join me for the next post! Thank you for reading.