I was working on showing how certain characteristics of Chrysalis emerge from our mission statement of encouraging the light within each student to shine brighter. A kind environment is obvious. Less obvious is teaching for understanding (as differentiated from covering a certain amount of material in a certain amount of time)because we light up when we understand something. (The proverbial lightbulb!) We also spend time in nature because our minds/bodies evolved within the natural world and we experience a resonance in those settings that increases our light. But does “teacher-led school” necessarily follow from our mission statement? I was chewing that over for many days. What link, if any, exists between “encouraging the light” and teacher-led schools?
What I came to realize is that one of the most important ways to encourage the light within students is to surround them with role models of adults whose light is shining. Our light shines brighter when we are creative, autonomous people, when we have the freedom to exult in and explore our passions. Teachers need to have freedom so they can model to their students what freedom in the adult world looks like. Top-down schools tend to restrict the freedom of their teachers — dictating what resources they can use, in what order they must teach things, herding them with test scores, imposing impersonal methods on teachers and students alike. This surrounds the young students with adult role models of drones – perhaps so the students will grow up not imagining more than a drone’s life—which might be the actual intent.