I just want to put it out there that one of the more educational aspects of EdCamp Home for me was that it operated entirely on Pacific Standard Time; it’s not a terrible for thing us easterners, on whom the national sun has risen and set for so long we think it’s our due, to have to make the constant adjustments that must be a frustrating norm for everyone else in our nation (to say nothing of international participants from places like Cyprus and New Zealand). I appreciated the exercise.
I had my first EdCamp experience after NAISAC13,
and I’ve written about my compelling unconference experiences at TABS 2013 as well as this past summer at EdCamp Cape Cod. The unconference is a great model for giving teachers the chance to figure out what’s on their own minds—ideas and questions alike—and to tap a range of peers; I know one well attended session today involved ideas for transferring the EdCamp model to the classroom.
- Independent schools and their teachers aren’t always very good at talking to one another, tending to treat other institutions as alien terrain and their denizens as irrelevant or maybe kind of threatening. We agreed that public school folks seem, for whatever reasons, to have embraced the notion of “connected educator” far more wholeheartedly than the generality of independent school people (present company excepted, of course)
- We in the independent school community can make unfortunate assumptions about public schools. It doesn’t help that the media tend to portray public schools, when they portray them at all, using what we might call a deficit model; at the same time, independent schools tend to be portrayed as looking like mini-Oxfords and corruptly teaching only the spoiled spawn of corrupt zillionaires (except when we’re not exploiting the children of the poor for their athletic talent).
- We need to find ways to help ourselves in the independent sector talk to one another more often and more honestly, on the chance we might learn a thing or two.
- And we really need to build some bridges between ourselves as educators and the vast pool of creativity and talent in our public schools.
If we’re going to learn how to share, it will have to start at the teacher-to-teacher level, where we can start breaking down stereotypes and start asking the right questions, listening carefully to the answers—and offering our own answers when asked.
This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. We might even start getting along a little better among ourselves.