Congratulations on completing the first full week of school America. Eight days in the books and a long Labor Day weekend coming up…
What’s that you say? Oh, you’re not starting until after Labor Day. I guess I did know some places still do that.
And what else was that, four weeks in? Already?!
O.K., I know, some of you do that year round thing.
I guess it’s pretty presumptuous for me to assume that every other school in America is on the same schedule as me.
Last week, the wide variety of starting dates for school struck me. I participated with a group of Psychology teachers in a twitter chat on August 21 and our topic of conversation was “first day activities.” It just happened to be the evening of my first day of school. Other teachers were in the midst of planning and probably incorporated some of the ideas into their first day. I also learned that some other teachers were already well into their school years.
A week later, we talked about different ways to use technology. Some teachers are already 1:1 and others can’t even rely on a consistent network connection.
A conversation about “flipping the classroom” highlighted scheduling issues of a different sort. At some schools, kids take classes that meet every day for a semester, others every other day all year, and even others every day all year long.
Teachers have students taking anywhere from four to eight classes at a time. If a student takes eight flipped classes with twenty-minutes of work for each every night, that’s two hours and forty-minutes at home in addition to the 7-8 hours at school each day. Perhaps it’s much different when students have four classes at a time.
The point is, no two schools are the same. Resources, size, demographics, schedules, all play a role in making them unique. The only consistent element is the relationships between young learners and adult guides helping them to reach their potential.
Perhaps as a nation we should focus more on these relationships that make a difference and less time searching for the big solution. There is no one curriculum, one instructional style, one behavioral system, one learning resource, or one best assessment that fits every system.
If we’re not careful, in our push to find the one big solution we’re going to kill the solution that’s already present.