In my time in education, I’ve come to have a lot of respect for educators who can build successful programs (henceforth called kingdoms so I can work my gratuitous Game of Thrones metaphor like Littlefinger works politics). My own school is absolutely full of exceptional kingdoms with dedicated rulers (teachers) and committed citizens (students). Film, Agri, Drama, Art, Debate; the list could go on and on. These kingdoms impact students positively daily; motivating them and providing formative life experiences that will shape them into the adults they will become. Such articulated programs are extremely valuable for our students and provide a place of belonging, a sense of purpose, and feelings of accomplishment. Today’s Drama I student may go on to become tomorrow’s TED talker. The kid who didn’t care much for regular classes but found her place in the school’s television studio may produce the world changing documentary of tomorrow. Such programs not only teach life and career skills, but they give students a sense of place in providing positive social cliques in which they can interact. Hang out with our literary magazine staff, and you’ll see a tight-knit group of students who speak their own language and observe their own social customs. Finally, all of these programs produce a product, providing intrinsic and extrinsic rewards for participation.
I don’t wish to take away from what these individual rulers, citizens, and kingdoms have been able to accomplish. But what happens when someone comes along and asks them to work together toward something bigger? Well, as anyone who has sat upon the Iron Throne can attest, the results may get ugly.
(Part 2 tomorrow).