I am a a science teacher. I teach chemistry and biology at Georgetown Day High School in Washington DC. I am a progressive educator, or at least I try to be. Like many progressive educators, I started my career by teaching in the way I thought was right. I found out later that my instincts were progressive and that there is a whole movement with a history and literature I can rely on. Since then I have tried to learn more about progressive education and I am earnestly trying to apply it to my personal practice. I hope to use this blog as a place to reflect on my practice and my ideas and to get input from you — my colleagues and my students.
I am also a bit of a trouble maker. I am furious at what the toxic college admissions process and standardized testing have done to my students, my colleagues, our curricula, and the schools where I have worked. I find inspiration in the UnCollege movement (clearly), Americans Elect, the Occupy movement, and the Arab Spring just to name a few. Of course I get daily inspiration from my colleagues and my students as well. We all deserve something better than what we have now.
I am aware that there are more urgent problems in the world than those I will describe and interrogate here. If you are looking for rants against the broken public education system in the US, you won’t find it here. That isn’t where I work — I am not qualified to take that on. My students, for the most part, are children of privilege. They are highly motivated, as are their parents, and they have tremendous resources at their disposal. My colleagues are brilliant, inspiring and diligent. My head of school is a visionary and my principal is a saint. Nevertheless, we are hostages of an unrealistic and essentially commercial college admissions process. Are we all implicated in this predicament? Why can’t we just extricate ourselves from it? The stakes are high and I am not willing to rest until I find a way out and take my whole school with me. Until then, I am not able to give my students everything they deserve — which is the same thing that all students deserve — and I am angry about that.
** Please realize that I am just starting my blog and I am a beginner. I value feedback on the blogging process and ask in advance for your patience with my efforts, however awkward they may be.