Teenagers are terrific, trustworthy creatures. Most programs don’t let kids flourish. They are designed to keep students under control, and don’t give them any space. Not at Putney. Here, I see kids transform all of the time and take responsibility for their own development. Every day.
Progressive education allows us to explore and make mistakes. We learn to embrace the contradictions and paradoxes of education. In the spirit of John Dewey we prepare students for the lives they are living right now, not for some distant future. What does this mean to you today?
Sure, every discipline has tools and a vocabulary. In English, students learn how to construct sentences, but they also need to find their voice. I try to foster curiosity and a genuine sense of wonder. I try to build self-confidence.
My classroom is a microcosm of a real community. My job is to facilitate individual growth as well as collaboration. It’s a constant experiment. We model, we embody the very things we are teaching. When my students graduate, they are in many respects my peers. I never had this feeling before, teaching at other schools. I have so much respect for them.