Last week, I overheard part of a conversation as I walked into our staff room. It was somehow related to the idea of “to do no harm” which I know is somehow related to the Hippocratic Oath for doctors.
This phrase, left a lasting impression during an extremely challenging week.
It made me wonder…How would education be different, if teachers and support staff were expected to take a “do no harm” approach?
First, let me say that I have known many excellent and dedicated teachers that spend hours trying to be the best teachers they can be; however, I don’t think all educators are equal and I don’t think that decisions are always made with children in mind. These decisions can be about school hours, curriculum, overly decorated classrooms, and certainly over crowded schools.
I know that I am not the only parent wondering if my son’s school has acted in his best interest. The continued lack of education, communication, and compassion when it came to my TBP (and believe me, there are other disturbing scenarios out there) proved that we had to act.
It is not an exaggeration to say, that my son has been completely beaten down by his school, specifically his third grade teacher and principal. Despite an extremely successful second grade year, they refused to see his strengths and provide opportunities to accelerate curriculum to challenge his mind. We are now witnessing an anxious, stressed out 8 years old. Is that right?! Should anyone have to say that their 8-year-old has had their self-worth trampled and is now stressed?
We are taking a new approach. A homeschooling approach.
We are addressing his needs with a balanced approach of curriculum and play, experiences traveling outside of home, all at a pace that best suits his needs.
I’m sure that some people (many are complete strangers) will feel compelled to comment about us being too lenient or indulgent and to them I say…I don’t care.
After many worrisome nights and considering the advice of experts, this is the right decision…for now. In addition to homeschooling, we are looking into classes and schools for the summer and hope that in time, my TBP can return to a classroom. The question remains, what kind and where?
His third grade teacher and school staff, did harm….a lot of it.
I think that if all educators (and school administrations) had to filter their decisions through the lens of “to do no harm” we would have a very different system. As educators, we should strive for it and as parents, we should expect it.
Our kids deserve it.