We’ve all known that one student who just seems to get away with everything.
Clever, charming, usually possessed of a rakish smile and an incorrigible cheerfulness, this is the student who can goof off all term and still somehow pass his or her exams with flying colors. They violate dress code, breeze into class ten minutes late, and always have some elaborate excuse for why they didn’t do the assignment the way you assigned it.
It’s maddening…but somehow, you can’t stay mad at them. In fact, if we’re honest, we might even envy those students a little.
Let’s admit it: we teachers are a rule-following bunch. Whether it’s by nature or nurture, we have a gut instinct for following the directions and expecting others to do the same.
Not that we don’t want to bust out of our rule-following mode, from time to time. And with traditional education styles failing all over the world, you’d think this would be the perfect time to introduce some creativity to the system?
You Know What’s Wrong…So Why Won’t They Let You Fix It?
When you know your subject and your class really well, you have a keen sense of what’s not working.
And I’d be willing to bet that you’ve had some creative ideas on how to fix it.
Whether it’s an unorthodox teaching method or a new concept to add to your curriculum, there are as many ways to shake your students out of the doldrums and awaken their minds like never before.
I’d also be willing to bet that your innovations have often been met with statements like “That’s a nice idea, but we’ll have to get permission from the district/authority first.”
Or “we don’t have the budget.”
Or worst of all: “that’s just not how we do things.”
Does it seem like your innovations are constantly squashed flat by the dull thumb of bureaucracy? Unfortunately, the traditional education system is much too stuck in its ways to allow much creativity.
Unless you want to move to Finland.
Teachers as Trusted Professionals
Finland’s public charter school system has been applauded around the world for the results it’s getting. Finland eschews the competitive, standardized, work-work-work environment prevalent in the schools of most western nations; instead, they focus on basic subject instruction, learning-through-play models, plenty of arts and crafts, and as many as four outdoor recess breaks per day!
Perhaps most surprising, the teachers are are encouraged by administrators to constantly experiment with new approaches. If they think it will benefit their class environment or improve learning, they have carte blanche to test it out.
This article from education journal The Hechinger Report sums it up:
“Here…teachers are not strait-jacketed by bureaucrats, scripts or excessive regulations, but have the freedom to innovate and experiment as teams of trusted professionals.”
Changing the System for Yourself
All this may have you actually considering a cross-cultural move.
But the point of this story isn’t so much that the Finnish education system has got it all figured out.
The point is that in order to succeed in any goal, you’ve sometimes got to break a few rules.
You don’t need a masters degree to realize that if you want to do something better than it’s been done before, you can’t do it the same exact way it’s always been done!
For teachers in the traditional education system, being the best teacher you know that you can be almost certainly requires a little daring action on your part.
If you can’t change the system, maybe it’s time to change your system.
Maybe it’s time to make your own rules about the way you’ll teach.
Here’s Where to Start
So maybe you’re feeling fired up to break the right rules, kick the traditional education system to the curb, and recreate your teaching the way you know it should be.
I know from experience (and maybe you do, too) that nothing kills that fire like introducing some revolutionary changes in a staff meeting.
What if you started your own school, instead?
A school with a staff of exactly one? (That’s you.)
A school where you get to teach exactly what you want, how you want and even where you want?
Sounds good, right? And maybe a little crazy? Actually, it’s not crazy at all. It’s all part of a day’s work when you take your teaching online.
And it just so happens that I’ve launched the first ever step-by-step guide to setting up your own online tutoring business.
So 2019 can be a leap year for you .
In the meantime, come over to the Facebook Group and join in the chat