I began my teaching career in a rural school in Jackson, MT. We had two classrooms in the school and two teachers. The "Little Room" included grades k-3 and the "Big Room," which I taught, was filled with grades 4-8. I was also the supervising teacher, which meant I was responsible for all discipline and records keeping for the school; well, at least that's what it meant on paper. What it meant in my classroom was something few teachers get the opportunity to do these days--whatever I thought was best for my students within my classroom. I was given an autonomy in my classroom that allowed me to move at whatever pace I felt best suited my students learning styles, and the power to choose how I wanted to teach each subject. In my two years at the school, I learned how to teach my students while simultaneously making it fun and relevant to their daily lives. Due to my small class size of only four students, we were able to answer many off the wall questions, dig deeper into subjects that were sometimes off topic, and learn without any agenda or preconceived notion of a set schedule. The two years I spent in that educational environment completely changed my outlook and philosophy on education. It was from this experience that The Country Schoolhouse was born. If you're interested in reading more about this experience, you can check out a blog I wrote during my first year of teaching at Jackson Elementary School.
Rural schools of Montana were featured on an episode of CBS Sunday Morning during my time in Jackson, MT. Our school wasn't one of the ones featured, but the whole idea of the rural schools and how they functioned on a typical day was spotlighted at the Divide, MT school. I met the teacher from Divide at multiple Montana Small School Alliance Meetings, a consortium to which all our schools belonged. All of the teachers from these schools had a special love for teaching that I respected and admired. If you're interested in seeing more about the rural schools, click on the following link to watch the interview:
When our family returned to Mississippi in 2013, I continued to grow my idea of what an alternative education could look like. I am not opposed to traditional schools, but I feel as though it's time to grow our education system outside of the box. The video below is an illustrated version of the Ted Talk given by Sir Ken Robinson, Changing Education Paradigms. It is the number 1 most viewed Ted Talk video ever. I fell his ideas on changing educational paradigms closely relates to my own philosophy on education.
Hackschooling is a pretty interesting concept. I like this kid's motto of, "Make a life, not a living." His philosophy on his education is very much an "education out of the box" idea, but he's customizing it to his life and making it relevant to him.
I'm a k-8 teacher with a huge passion for making education relevant and interesting. I hope to do my part in encouraging others to see education as a lifelong journey of exploration and inspiration.