3 purple lies

Freedom to dream

The muchly needed and anticipated February break this year contained a lot of dreaming for this gal.  Dreaming of sunshiney days while on vacation, dreaming of summer roadtrips during some precious play time with the kids and dreaming of a perfect education system at the yearly convention.

We had two great visionaries back this year: Pasi Sahlberg and Sir Ken Robinson, both with inspiring messages of what could be.
Pasi talked about the Finnish school system  and Sir Ken Robinson addressed creativity and the organic nature of life.

Both talks had me dreaming of what a perfect school would look like for me, as a teacher, but also for my children.
In my ideal world, I would want...
  • 3 days max. for professional development.  I would be very motivated to attend a conference, session that applied directly to what I was doing or what I needed.  Instead of having maybe 11? days currently, put the leftover days to face-to-face time with kids and then if there was any more time, treat teachers like professionals.  Let me have time during the day to mark/prep/plan/collaborate and implement all the cool strategies and ideas I see hanging around- otherwise I just end up overwhelmed with a great bag of tricks that I don't have time to plan for.
  • Kids should have a low cost salad bar/nutritional foods in all cafeterias.
  • On top of phys.ed time, there should be time included in the day for leisurely activity or play.
  • Every student should have to be a part of a team or a club.  OR extra curricular shouldn't be linked at all to school.  Do activities out of school and focus on studies at school.
  • More art, music, band and creativity.
  • Start days at 9 and run until 4.  In that time (in a high school) do the five-55 minute chunks of classes, but also have a half hour that is like a study hall where students can hop from class to class and get extra help where they want it.  Sometimes I also think that maybe classes need to be chunked differently.  Why does it have to be 60 minutes- it's sometimes hard to get anything done....
  • Mandatory parent/teacher/student conferences.  Parents should take their kid's education seriously and talking with the teacher is important.
  • Less emphasis on content/curriculum and more importance put on problem solving skills and group collaboration.  
  • Constant contact/communication with the business world or the "real" world.  Kids need to see that what they do/learn in high school can be valuable to their next life. 
Okay, my brain hurts.  Of course, I think teachers should be paid more for what they do...BUT I also think that I would be just as happy with reduced class size, reduced PD and more ability to do what I want in my class.

FYI, something different I'm going to try to do this semester is more marking in class (as opposed to bringing it home and doing it at night)  I may get less time to cover curriculum, but I think it may be more important that I mark with the kids present so they can see how it happens and where they can improve or how they rocked it....thoughts?

What would you want in a perfect world?