What makes a school good or great? Educational researchers have poured over this for years and generated huge amounts of data. Data is important and can provide us with a great deal of insight but sometimes you have to go with your gut. That is what is reflected in this blog. I have been working in schools for a little while now and as someone who is fascinated by how things work, I have grappled with this concept. To me, the answer is pretty obvious.
I recall my very first few weeks as a teacher. Fresh out of university with lots of pedagogy jammed into my head, channeling Piaget and Vygotsky, I charged into the classroom. Lessons were prepared and planned to within the second, resources were deployed, extension activities primed and ready to go. I even had a list of questions to ask and possible answers for questions that students may ask. I guess that is what happens when a mining engineer becomes a teacher! These lessons were going to be perfect. The children arrived, sat down in their seating plan and my delivery of knowledge commenced. It went well, I delivered the content effectively and to plan. I covered ALL the work that I had planned. I was a good teacher! This went on for a couple weeks. One day while on bus stop duty, I got to talking to one of my students. This had not happened up until this point because I was too busy planning. It hit me like a ton of bricks, that even though I knew his name, I knew nothing about him – absolutely nothing.
I walked into class the next day and instead of 40 students sitting in the seating plan, I saw 40 human beings. Little people that I knew nothing about. I was horrified. How could I expect these children to learn if I didn’t know anything about them and what made them tick? That moment was transformational and changed my whole outlook on education. I began to take the time to get to know my students and that drastically altered the way I taught. I actually thought about the individuals while preparing lessons. And guess what? I went from being a ‘good’ teacher to an effective one because I stopped teaching and my students started learning. It made me love my job even more.
Going back to the original question. What makes a great school? RELATIONSHIPS! Those between teachers and students and those between the staff. That is why Edenhurst is such a brilliant school. We know our children. We care about them. Everything we do is for them. Our children love coming to this place becasue it is nurturing and feels like home. Because of that they want to learn and do well.
I am sure there are loads of studies to back this up but I don’t need them. I know this to be true because I see it every day in classrooms, on the playground and in the corridors.
Categories: School Blogs