No matter how they stepped through the door however, two hours later, I think that both our students and their parents made their way home feeling good about their days and their choices.
Kenneth Gordon is a school of second choice. To be honest, there are probably no parents or children who enter the school system with a burning desire to attend KGMS. Some other school had the privilege of being their first choice.
First choice schools are picked for a number of reasons: they are close to home; or they have status or a larger than life reputation in the community; or they are where Mom or Dad or Grandma or Grandpa went to school. Whatever the reason, we parents often select the first choice school for our child with less thought and research than we give to buying a new car!
Students arrive at Kenneth Gordon because those first choices didn’t work. This time, parents have done their homework. They have listened to learning specialists; they have researched their options; and they have made an informed choice that they believe will be a good fit for their child. That is the way that every enrollment decision should be made and that is why, at KGMS, we are proud to be a school of second choice.
Many of the students that I have worked with over the years have come to me with the same story. They tell me how they just can’t learn. They say that no matter what their teachers taught them, they couldn’t master it. What did that say about them as a learner, or as a person? When I get those kinds of questions, I always think of a quote by the American educational critic Neil Postman who wrote in one of his books: Building a Bridge to the 18th Century that hearing a teacher say to a student, “I taught you that concept, you just didn’t learn it” is as absurd as hearing a car salesperson say to a customer “I sold you that car, you just didn’t buy it!”
Clearly if a customer doesn’t buy the car, than the technique of the salesperson wasn’t up to the task of selling to that particular customer, in other words, they didn’t “sell” it – it is hardly the buyer’s fault if she or he didn’t buy. The same holds true for teachers and students. If the strategies employed by the teacher, fail to meet the needs of the learner, than it is the teacher that needs to go back to the drawing board, not the student. If a student doesn’t learn it, then you didn’t teach it!
As long as first choice schools continue to struggle to meet those needs, there will be an important place for second choice schools like Kenneth Gordon. But, if in some ways we are like no other schools, in others, we are exactly the same!
On Tuesday, when those floodgates opened and that sea of shining faces streamed in, the energy level was palpable and the excitement – electric!
Staff members and students alike were genuinely thrilled to see one another after two long months apart.
It’s a funny thing, as much as I love summer, each fall when I experience first hand the joy of learning once again, I remember that I love September even more!