People like to talk about teachers being on the front lines of education. The kids are there, too. Pop culture pits kids against adults all the time, especially in schools. However, school can’t be us vs. them. School has to be all of us together subverting the system by surpassing its expectations using pedagogies of authenticity and community.
Schools, in fact, are rather oblivious to what’s going on in the classroom. How else would traditional grading and classroom management survive?
It’s time to take advantage of the system’s willful ignorance and to recruit kids to re-imagine their own schooling. It’s time to shut the door on the system and open students’ learning to their communities and world. Keep the system in the hallway; knock out the walls between classrooms and between classrooms and the world. Put in doors to adjoining rooms. Let the kids navigate a web of learning that looks like only so much labyrinth to the auditors on the outside.
We shouldn’t be afraid to get yelled at in the hall or office when learning is cheered in our classrooms.
I think there has been a very long tradition of subverting the system. The ‘system’ is not some monolithic evil we should relish defeating. I simply feel that the reality of learning resides in the classroom and the necessary collaboration between teacher and student. That reality dictates events and we are impelled to make the learning authentic. Wise administrators recognize this and perhaps celebrate it.