I was delighted to learn that the Global Teacher Prize was awarded to an independent school teacher who has a mission not only to improve education directly, but also by teaching other teachers her methods. She realizes that alternative approaches to the traditional public school model are necessary, including choice, freedom, and meaningful assessments. I’m happy to see that she reaches out to other teachers to spread this idea and to share her successes. This is something I aspire to do as well, starting with the opening of a small in-home school. I can’t certify anyone in Montessori, but I can definitely share the philosophy and spread the Montessori message. These ideas should not be kept secret! They need to be shared as widely as possible. This is how we can make a change in our world and create a more peaceful society.
I’m curious to know, however, if and how public school teachers could incorporate any of this teacher’s practices. In my public school teaching experience, it was a huge risk to break away from “covering” specific concepts. I was evaluated harshly when administrators witnessed “freedom” of learning in my classroom. In addition, I saw that since children didn’t have practice dealing with a “free” class period, the time was often wasted. The children didn’t know how to make the choice of how to use free time wisely. This is still the biggest hurdle, and the biggest sacrifice for parents to make for their children’s benefit. How can independent schools compete with “free” public education?