I have been asking myself what is critical in creating a school that is vital and compelling. What is education really? What is the core of our greatest successes as a school? It seems to me that there are a couple of elements that are important. One is real work. We have little time with our students. What we ask them to engage in must really matter. We must be sure that what we provide our students matters and we must convey its importance. Academics must be real work.
Also, being clear that the student is the learner, the author of her own education, the generator of ideas and of his own education, and interacting with the student with all the respect that implies is critical. What we say or do only matters to the extent that it creates possibilities, realizations, inspiration to our students. We have to listen to them to find out what they know and are learning. We are their guides, their support, their travel agents, so to speak, but the journey is theirs. When we we teach in this way, we put each student at the center of education, and that this is what makes school most vital.