Thirty years ago, I couldn't have imagined I would still be consumed with a search for the true aims and purposes of education and their alignment with curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, and classroom and school culture. I’ve come to believe that our evolving philosophies of education constructed from ongoing reading, research, experience, dialogue, and self-reflection lie at the very heart of what it means to be a great educator.
Grounded in educational philosophy,
We can grow strong and courageous voices as we take a place at the table to participate in the creation of our educational system.
We have more impact in the classroom, more refinement and clarity about what we want to see and how to adjust to achieve what kids need.
We are stronger leaders as we advocate for kids with expert knowledge and acquired wisdom.
We are better able to keep ourselves accountable to a tightly plotted road map.
We can prevent unintentional straying off course
by yielding to personal biases and preferences,
or slipping into safe comfort zones of familiarity and competence.
We become artists and surgeons rather than technicians and performers when we embrace the harrowing complexity of the sacred profession of educator.
We are liberated to be true to ourselves, to our hard earned beliefs, ever-evolving to ultimately impact students and society in the most authentic way possible.
Too often, we find ourselves wantonly seeking to please parents and students or to impress administrators, allowing others to define our worth and professional stature; instead, we must ground our practice in educational philosophy.
This life long journey for ‘real education' has recently pulled me toward building this website to write about educational questions important to me. I'm going to start pairing the website writings with lessons and resources that I post on Teacher Pay Teachers- to hopefully model the complex web of pressing decisions that need to be made about everything we do, teach, facilitate, omit, and emphasize in the classroom every single day.
My hope is to raise questions that that challenge me, that nurture others' professional growth, and that engage collaborative dialogue. I want to inspire discourse about all that matters, that keep educators up at night, and that will lead us toward what is real and good and true for kids and for society. We all grow exponentially faster when we do it together!
Welcome to whatisarealeducation: the Site of the "F" Word!
Updated: Mar 18
Welcome to whatisarealeducation! I've been wanting to challenge myself to build this website for a long time, and I am so happy I am finally doing it. In the briefest of terms, the purpose for this website is to create a respectful space where people can freely explore the "F word" without being judged or categorized or expected to know any more or less than they do. Well, so as not to mislead you, the "F" word is phonetically accurate, but the non-phonetic and more accurate spelling would be "PH." I began with the F-word for dramatic effect, but our PH focus has triggered as much reaction as the saltiest language I could muster- arising from general attitudes toward the subject matter itself as well as from the bitter polarities that sometimes emerge within it. In case you're a little disappointed, occasional well placed expletives will not offend me in the least! But the sole purpose of the site is to explore the "F" "PH" word, philosophy- a philosophy of education, as well as its intrinsic relationship to professional practice and, in turn, their impact on kids and our culture.
Many years ago, thanks to my beloved mentor teacher, I began my seemingly overwhelming search for the true aims and purposes of education when I was a student and prospective teacher. I've come to realize that he was a rarity, and I was incredibly blessed to be under his tutelage. He insisted on seeing to it that I was a reflective educator with a firm philosophical foundation to begin my quest to seek the best "real" education and to become the best teacher I could possibly become. That early training has shaped me into the teacher I am today more than any other factor. I wish every prospective teacher would have a similar experience. Even more daunting than the search for aims and purposes and a philosophy of education, was to then research, construct, and apply my inexperienced theories into the world by aligning them with and fusing them into curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, and classroom culture. I had no idea I’d still be consumed with aims and practices thirty years later.
I’ve come to believe that our evolving philosophies constructed from ongoing reading, research, experience, dialogue, and self-reflection lie at the very heart of what it means to be a great educator. Grounded in educational philosophy, we become strong and courageous voices as we take a place at the table in the creation of our educational system. We become far more effective in the classroom, more refined and clear about what we want to see and how to adjust to what kids need. We become stronger leaders when exuding such multi-layered expertise and acquired wisdom which naturally attracts respect and attention currently swinging toward CEO's and beaurocrats who are somehow holding more sway on education than we do.
I envision a co-created space to write and dialogue and read educational philosophy-keeping ourselves and each other out of our comfort zones so that authentic transformation is possible. The future of our youth and our society needs us to breathe life into the best possible "F word" that is, in turn, manifested into our lives and classrooms with integrity.