In the last episode of the Vocabbett podcast, I suggested that a more autonomous trend might emerge in education in a post-COVID-19 world.
That episode largely spoke to parents and students.
In this bonus episode, I want to speak to educators about how we can make changes to the existing framework to better respect and nurture the students in our care.
Are you an educator who doesn’t want to walk away from the existing system, but knows that changes need to be made?
Here’s what I’m suggesting in a nutshell: find a way to nurture the individuality of each student.
One jumping-off point would be to incorporate something similar to May Program at Breck School.
At Breck, classes finish at the end of April, and for the entire month of May, Upper School students are “given the chance to create their own meaningful learning experiences.”
9th and 10th graders take unique electives that ordinarily wouldn’t be offered during the school year, while 10th and 11th graders leave campus to engage in volunteer work, internships, or study abroad.
And here’s an important note: the students choose where they want to work (with approval). They don’t choose from a list of five companies. They do the work, pitch the program, and are free to grow in a way that uniquely speaks to them.
I attended Breck from 5th-11th grade (I spent my senior year abroad with SYA). Some of my friends volunteered with environmental organizations, others interned at marketing companies. Some did mock trial. I studied abroad one of the years, and it changed the trajectory of the rest of my life.
May Program directly impacted our ability to further our interests, often leading to summer internships, which then led to first jobs.
You need to do what is right for your school, but it would be a mistake not to look at our broader curriculum during this time of change.
In the era of the internet, schools don’t have a monopoly on education anymore. People no longer have to put up with the bad in order to get the good.
As with every other industry, educators must continue innovating to create a better product. It’s our responsibility to create a better, safer, and more enriching experience for our students every single year.