Thinking about What if we crafted a ten commandments of modern schooling? 60-60-60 #51 and reflecting…

Shouldn’t we have some level of agreement about the ten most fundamental expectations for schooling in our modern era?

I now have three versions of my educational philosophy. All three fit onto one page and there are certainly some common threads, especially between the last two — the first was written as a piece of my Teach for America application in 2002, the next was written in 2008 during  my Klingenstein year, and the most recent was written in early January of this year.

As I think about all three, I envision myself metaphorically siting in the ophthalmologist’s chair over the years, with the doctor switching the lenses in front of my eyes and asking, “Is that better…or worse…or just the same?”

The blurry lens through which I handwrote (and later typed) my first educational philosophy was a result of teaching experience that was more like volunteer tutoring experience. Projections, estimations, and instinctual feelings were what directed my writing. After a few years teaching in both an inner-city school and back at the elementary school I attended as a child in north Buckhead, I was able to see through a bit of a sharper lens. Things weren’t as out-of-focus concerning my beliefs about teaching, but that which was not intimately connected to my personal experiences was hard to make out. There were things too far in the distance for me to even imagine. And now the most recent educational philosophy, one which is merely based on two additional years of administrative experience, is sharper in places and still out-of-focus in others. And there are things still in the distance, unknown. I’m pretty sure that when it comes to my educational philosophy, there will always be the opportunity for more refined examination under new kinds of lenses — based on time, my experiences, and my role(s) in schools.

So that brings me to this “what if” about educational commandments. I’m sure it’s the Moses-and-Mount-Sinai thing, but commandments feel a bit stiff…stagnant…set in stone. Doesn’t there need to be room for growth and change when it comes to our individual or collective beliefs about education? Can these dynamic beliefs be characterized in commandments?

If I take the three responses to Bo’s post, they allow me to see that there can be great value in formulating educational commandments:

Thou shalt see oneself principally as the architect and choreographer of student learning experiences. ~Peter Cobb

Modern schooling MUST make a real difference to the life chances of the individual learner. ~hnaylor62

All learners must be encouraged to use what they have learned to make a significant difference to the world in which they live. ~hnaylor62

But, I hope we will reserve the right to throw a few out every so often and re-etch new ones based on the needs of our school, our schools, and modern schooling in general. Maybe the sweet spot is found somewhere between our philosophies and our commandments…



  1. Yep; right on; I think the 10 Commandments thing is a good use of shared language and image, but with your qualification. But I also think Bo is talking about commandments that enshrine the very flexibility you want…it is the Zen of Organizational Agreement!:) And congrats on such a great evolution in your personal ed philosophy.

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