The school system as currently constructed is terrible and only works for me personally because I’m good at standardized tests that are biased against me. I rarely learned anything substantial there, and the vast majority of my secondary education was a waste of time. I’ve had the goal of opening a school for underserved children for some time and I thought about what I would teach them, but I never committed to put my plan on paper until recently. My last class assignment asked me to give details of how my ideal school would look, and although I couldn’t really get in depth with my vision (I won’t complain about only having to write 750 words, but how am I supposed to really get going with this topic?), I think that the following is a pretty good skeleton for how I would like to design my school:
Ideally, my school would serve children from kindergarten through 8th grade. I would prefer to teach that age group, as opposed to high schoolers because teaching them these ideas early in life gives them a better chance to be molded. I would also like to primarily cater to children from underserved communities, which are disproportionately Black and Latino. I would also have the school being low cost (specifically a small percentage of their income) so those families can afford it. Underserved communities are especially important to reach because they are constantly marginalized by the world around them, and that damages their psyches in unquantifiable ways over the course of a lifetime. Being able to fight that constant marginalization they receive from their environment on a daily basis would be invaluable to them. I think that the attitude of our current school system reflects the attitude of our nation, namely that it is clearly catered to White men, and although they now welcome all different colors and creeds, they are in no rush to cater to them. I would teach them about their own history and read them literature from their own, Black and Latino, people. I think this is important because it gives a sense that those people are important in the same way that most people think that Shakespeare is important, since his works are universally taught at public schools. Creating a school that is focused on the needs of underserved children would protect them from being marginalized even further by the educational system as is.
Although I understand the importance of testing and other assessments of knowledge retention, I think the concept of creating ideas is even more vital for children and adults alike. I would create this sort of creative environment by encouraging them to constantly ask questions and teaching them how to approach and solve difficult problems. I would also organize business and marketing contests for the children, which would encourage them to use their massive imaginations to create and execute an innovative plan at an early age. I would also ideally give them time and daily opportunities to just think of different ideas, since I believe that the brain is a muscle that needs constant exercise like any other part of the body. I would ensure that the classes were small, so students would not only get specialized attention intellectually, but emotionally as well.
I would make the environment as fun as possible, since everyone learns and retains more when they’re having fun, and children are no exception. I would make the classrooms very tech friendly, since the world isn’t going backwards in terms of advancing. I would also put a heavy emphasis on physical activity and learning in places other than the classroom. I would give as many chances as possible to encourage hands-on learning, since that’s a great way to retain information that is often underutilized. I would discourage conventional lectures where the teacher talks at the students for an entire class while the students are expected to take notes silently. From personal experience, not only did that make my experience miserable, but I didn’t actually learn anything with that method. It literally provided no benefit except, perhaps, for the teacher to feel like he was truly in charge. Another necessity for my ideal school is the ability to give children a chance to explore creative passions, whether it’s music, arts, sports or academia. I think that the children knowing that their passions are embraced and encouraged will create an environment that is conducive to learning and personal growth.
What do you guys think? Am I missing important parts? Are there already people working on these types of schools?I feel like this would be my small contribution to the world, so I’d really like to get it right.