Teaching is Not an Engineering Problem

Teaching is Not an Engineering Problem

Teaching is not an Engineering ProblemI’ve had a front row seat at The New School for the past two weeks, and I’ve watched in wonder. There’s a lot to love. Creative, smart, self-possessed kids moving from a collection of single selves into a community. The first gathering of The New School Rock Band (bass, drums, viola, banjo). Pick-up basketball during lunch.  But the greatest wonder of all has been the teachers. They are dazzling. Drawn from all over—high schools, university, business and the arts community, they have each brought themselves fully into the classroom. William Deresiewicz, author of Excellent Sheep, started a recent piece in Slate this way: “If you want a good education, you need to have good teachers.” It seems absurd, doesn’t it, and yet it’s not an every day, every classroom, every school event. But what makes a good teacher?  Charisma? Erudition? Humor? I’m with Deresiewicz: “What [students] really want is that their teachers challenge them and that they care about them. They don’t want fun and games; they want the real thing.”  We couldn’t agree more. In fact, we believe so much in the power of a teacher who can make a genuine connection—intellectual and emotional–that we’ve built a school for them–and for the current and future students who will come to know themselves well as a result. (You owe it to yourself to read this excerpt. Every teacher you ever loved will be brought alive.)

Private School Teachers

Atlanta High School StudentsOf course, not all great private school teachers work in classrooms. K.C. Decker from Booz Allen Hamilton came to help students understand the power of data. Allen Post, an award winning education-focused architect from Perkins+Will, taught about the design process as students began to re-imagine their student lounge. Robbie Brown, formerly of The New York Times, led kids through the steps of a great interview.

Atlanta High School Students in the Community

And on Friday, TNS students attended the ribbon-cutting of the Eastside Gateway to the Beltline at the Old Fourth Ward Park, where they be photographed and interviewed politicians, community leaders, police officers, and neighbors about the promise and challenges of this unique pathway through the city.High School Students with Mayor Kasim Reed It all culminated in an impromptu press conference in which Mayor Kasim Reed spent 10 minutes fielding incisive, probing questions from TNS students.

Not bad for the first two weeks of school.

Sound interesting? Think your high school student might find a good fit at The New School? We’ve posted a schedule of Parent Information Sessions on the website. Come check us out!