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Friday, December 30, 2016

Better Learning: More Breaks, Better Study, and Wonderful Summer Programs

Breaks are essential to good teaching.

Once you get beyond the exhaustion, you really have time to think about the students and the teaching and learning to come.

Without adequate breaks and time for think, schools run the risk of getting caught in the hamster's wheel of ineffective practice, practice that goes round and round without adequate refinement and revision.

The more I teach, the more I like the private school model of more breaks throughout the year and a lengthy summer break for other kinds of teaching and learning, the kind that so many children enjoy at summer camp, vacation, and exploration.

Full-year school would simply be more of the same, and I don't think that's what we need. Instead focus on bettering the school year with more breaks and better study, and then build up better summer camp, exploration, and project-based programs in beautiful places throughout the nation. That would create more jobs and foster better learning.

At an age where there are fewer jobs due to automation, we should be looking at ways to build up our ability to serve one another by employing more people to teach, care for one another, provide health services, create beautiful communities, and more. I like the idea of communitarianism, a movement towards building stronger communities, and believe this is a good focus for our new age of living and working.

As for me, I'm ready to teach my students with a renewed schedule and intent, one that is aimed at providing a strong holistic lens and effort and one that teaches for life as well as the next day, week, month, and year. Every child I teach is extraordinary. Every one of them brings wonderful gifts to their own lives, the lives of others, and our communities. The goal is to acknowledge and develop their gifts while also giving them the tools they need to navigate their challenges. I want every child to leave the grade level with a confident, happy outlook about the next year's learning and endeavor.

That aim will take continued outreach and teaming with colleagues, health professionals, administrators, families, and students. Together we'll craft, revise, and refine programs to meet that aim. That aim will also require continued advocacy with regard to providing schools with the time, money, staffing, environment, and structures they need for success--good schools profit from substantial positive support, and it's the community's responsibility to provide that support since quality communities profit from good schools too.

There's lots of good work to do, and doing that work with a positive attitude, realistic schedule, and continued growth and development is the way to go. Onward.