|Student-centered learning is at the heart of Parker’s progressive model of education. Earlier in the year, we unpacked what a student-centered education looks like here at Parker, and why it is integral to fostering a love of learning in our children. Today, we will examine the heart of what makes student-led learning so successful here at Parker: our AMAZING teachers.|
At every grade and in every special, Parker is powered by teachers who are true professionals in their field. Here at Parker, teachers are in control of every element of their classroom, from how it looks and is managed to what is taught and when. This stands in contrast to traditional school systems, which are typically run in a top-down fashion from administration to employees. Parker teachers have control over the decisions that affect their day-to-day lives with their students. They are able to collaborate with both their students and colleagues to prioritize learning that is relevant and beneficial for a given individual or group in the moment.
Trust in our teachers is an inherent part of the culture here at Parker. Much as we believe in the power of choice and autonomy in motivating our children’s learning, we extend that respect up to the professionals leading our classrooms. Putting teachers in charge just makes sense. They are the boots on the ground every day, using their judgment, expertise, and experience to guide their particular group of students.
Furthermore, research demonstrates that schools with higher levels of teacher leadership produce greater student achievement. Teachers understand the subtle needs of their students. Giving teachers the authority to respond to those needs produces the dynamic, individualized learning that allows Parker students to thrive.
Read on to learn more about what our teachers value about their profession at Parker, in their own words…
|“Autonomy is an essential aspect of working at Parker and something I hope we will forever maintain. It allows me to be responsive to my students’ interests and priorities, thereby helping to make their education more meaningful. Autonomy has at its core a trust in and respect for my decision-making, expertise, and leadership.” ~Lynn Schuster (2-3 Teacher)|
|“I love the freedom to be creative in my teaching craft and to follow the passion of my students. The autonomy I have at Parker allows me to reach each student and push them at their unique level, specific to their interests and needs. I can always create new material depending on the direction of the class, which prevents stagnant teaching and promotes love and energy into my lessons.” ~Nellie Barker (4-5 Teacher)|
|“I value teaching at Parker because I am allowed to be myself and to pursue the topics that I’m curious about. The children and their interests are my priority!” ~Michele Ridgeway (PreK 3 Teacher)|
|“The best part about my autonomy as a teacher is that it gives me the freedom to respond to the needs and interests of the students. I most enjoy having a small group of students who I know very well. It gives my instruction a mentorship angle that’s impossible in larger classes.” ~Ian Marvinney (Middle School English Language Arts Teacher)|
|“I love the academic freedom that allows me to teach the way that allows students to achieve their goals and allows me the flexibility to tailor each teaching opportunity to each child. I also love that I know each child on a deeper level than at public schools. I have the time to learn about their interests and make connections outside of the classroom.” ~Sara Feltes (All-School Music Teacher)|
|“I love that we have time to play, time to learn, time to explore, time to follow the lead of our students, time to build relationships, and time to let them be children. In a world full of pressure and rushing to grow up it’s so nice to be able to teach in an environment where there is time to embrace these joys of being children.” ~Priscilla Halsey (K-1 Teacher)|