I have wanted to be a teacher since the age of five. I was the ideal student, so it was no wonder that the school structure appealed to me at the time.
When I finally became a teacher, I initially stepped into the role with ease. I taught in the way I was trained—following the same regulations created by a system that raised me.
I lined kids up, punished bad behavior, and raised my voice to get students’ attention.
I gave out stickers and awards and took away rights, but called them privileges.
Somewhere in all that classroom management, I was expected to pound subject content into children within a 10-month timeframe.
Something about the way we ran our days constantly grated on me, but I went with the flow because there was always a parent, teacher, or administrator watching. To protect my job, I needed to follow the rules myself.
It wasn’t until I became a mother that the authoritarian model of education made me feel entirely out of alignment.
What was once discomfort with the school system became outright rejection within my being.
I spent many nights thinking about the way we control what children think, do, and feel within the walls of an educational institution. Lining kids up like little soldiers and hushing them as we walked down the hallway made me feel uneasy. The harsh intrusion of the bells made my blood curdle.
And, the inability to support all students in the way they each deserved felt like a crime.
I watched the most dedicated, qualified teachers flounder about—haphazardly gathering resources to meet the needs of diverse students in congested classrooms. We shared disheartened words in staff rooms as we continued to trudge along in a system that succeeded at sucking our energy and slowly chipped away at our spirit.
What finally pushed me out the door was the amount of administrative work I was expected to do—taking time away from what should have been directed at the students. My expertise as an educator was being diminished to paperwork and red tape just as students were being reduced to assignments, percentages, and constant surveillance.
There was no time for meaningful projects or a self-directed exploration.
By the time I left, I felt disconnected from the students; it was actually easy to go—all thanks to a system that indirectly taught me that, try as we might, there is little space for humanized learning in the classroom.
I decided that since I had little value within a system, I could reach one child who needed me more—from the outside. This is how you find me here today.
From my one child to the many parents, teachers, and support staff I’ve been speaking to since 1994, I am on a mission to turn our view of education on its head. Are you in?
I help teachers, clinicians, and administrators flip education on its head.