Welcome to Twin Peaks Charter Academy High School
Welcome to Twin Peaks Charter Academy High School. Building relationships with students is one of the most rewarding aspects of working in a school. There are many things we can do to help them become better citizens. We, first and foremost, should educate the students academically so they are prepared for the challenges they will face and so they are able to communicate properly. Additionally, educators should guide students so they make wise choices even when the student rejects the advice.
What I have discovered is that often, students really aren't making poor choices. They are merely following the cultural norms of the day. For example, during the 1970's, students wore bell bottoms while in the 1980's, women wore leg warmers. However, you don't see many student wearing bell bottoms or leg warmers to school today. In other words, many of our actions are really founded on what we feel we should do rather than by what we rationally should do. Many times, these actions are not the best, but we don't know what else to do because "everyone else is doing it." As adults, we may see the action as choices, but to the student, a choice does not exist.
In many ways, teaching is the same. Why do teachers have students sit during class? Why do teachers use projectors? Why do teachers use technology in the classroom? Far too often, teachers do what they think they should do in the classroom not because it is the best for students, but because it is the cultural norm. Since everyone else appears to be doing the same thing, we must be correct that this will provide the best education for our students. Unfortunately, we often follow the lead of others to the detriment of the students.
For example, one of the poor choices educators made in the past is to try to make all students feel good. While I wholeheartedly agree that if students are angry, hungry, or depressed, they will not learn the material, however the contrapositive is not true. In other words, if students are not angry, hungry, or depressed, they will learn the material. The students could be extremely happy and learn nothing. This is the trap educators have fallen into without recovery. Far too many schools today do everything they can to make students feel good. I agree with this. However, this is done at the expense of the academics. This is where I diverge from modern methods of education. The purpose of school is to educate students academically. If students feel good about themselves having learned nothing, we have failed! What is more important is to create an environment where the two are married. What is important is that the students feel good because they have learned challenging material and conquered what was difficult. The journey is often not fun, but the results are worth the struggle and therein lies the joy of education.
As we embark on a new year at Twin Peaks Charter Academy, our teachers read the attached article "Teaching is a Cultural Activity" to help identify the cultural norms we follow as educators. We felt some were the best methods of instruction for our students and some were questioned. Our goal is to relentlessly seek what can be improved throughout the school year. Such as mentioned above, the journey is difficult, but the goal is worthy and the fruits are many. Hopefully, you will see many positive changes in the months to come. I welcome you to read the article and join us in our conversation.
Interim 6–12 Principal
Twin Peaks Charter Academy