A couple of posts back, I was writing about some problems we were having with Aristotle’s behaviour at school and I have since realised that what I wrote could be easily misconstrued because of the way it was written. I just wanted to correct that because I have to say that I have been very pleased with the staff at Aristotle’s school – at least the ones that have been directly in contact with him because they are the only ones that I know so far (unfortunately because I’ve been busy handling Hercules at home and have not been able to get involved with school events).
After what I wrote about homeschooling, it is probably a mysterious wonder that I allow my son to attend school. Well, I don’t think that all schools are bad. They certainly figured it out in Finland and have a system in place that’s working pretty well there. And while there are plenty of articles enumerating all the key factors that make schools in Finland a success, I think the top of the list has got to be the teachers. You can have all the best systems in place but if you don’t have the right teachers to carry it out, what’s the point?
Who are the right teachers? In my humble opinion – the ones who want to be there; the ones who love to work with children; the ones who are interested in education – not in its limited scope but in its entirety. I talked about finding the right school for my children and I’ve seen the numerous comments on the post I wrote about International Schools and I realised that we’ve all been looking mostly at the system rather than the people. It’s not a bad thing – having a good system in place, but I learned pretty early on that it is the teacher that makes all the difference.
After all, what puts homeschooling ahead of conventional schools is the fact that the teachers are the parents – dedicated individuals with a desire for only best for their children. You can’t top that. Get enough schools with that kind of dedication and perhaps it might close the gap between the traditional schoolers and the homeschoolers.
What helped me decide that we had the right school for Aristotle was, of course, the environment, but also because he bonded well with his examiner. And now that I have seen his class teacher in action, I am glad he is where he is because his teacher is good. Now I can only hope that the rest of his teachers in the years to come will be as good and we’ll be set.
Even when Aristotle first started preschool, I could see the difference a good teacher could make. When he attended his first school, we had a lot of problems. Being a bright child, they wanted to advance him to the year ahead. Aristotle, however, didn’t like the teacher heading that class. After sitting in with him for a bit, I could understand why. He later moved himself to a different class (yes, he took matters into his own hands) and I could immediately see the difference it made for him to have a teacher he liked. For a start, he began to enjoy school. And I knew it was his teacher who made a difference because his “bad days” were usually when she was on leave or sick.
If I were to look for a school now, I would look at the quality of teachers first and foremost and the system second. For you can have all the best ideals in the world, but without the right people holding those ideals close to heart and believing in them, they’re as good as worthless. In fact, you might as well not bother having them.