Because it's not "one size fits all"

Written by Chelle Wabrek, Assistant Head of School for Academic Affairs
Welcome to the Weekend!
 
Early on in Rob Greene’s Lovett Learns interview on Wednesday he said, “You aren’t teaching a class of 20, you are teaching 20 classes of one.” 


In a nutshell he  (Click on the picture of Rob to hear the entire conversation about Belonging.) encapsulated so much of the work that you do, striving to understand who your students are and relentlessly brainstorming ways to meet their individual needs, to find ways to let each of your students thrive. Lovett is not a “one size fits all” kind of place.

This week, I had the great luxury of bragging about this specific trait to parents. In this “great adaptation” (I can only say “pivot” so many times a week) the meme, the gifs, the funny videos lament the parents who are “homeschooling” their children.  And I love a good laugh as much as the next person and I know that parents are far more involved in their child’s education than ever before. AND Lovett families are not “homeschooling.”

The scaled financial model that works for virtual homeschool programs is about providing a generic structure and set of benchmarks with attached assessment points.  A Lovett education is the polar opposite -- 

This is a place where teachers capture the individual passions and talents of our students….
…...highlighting the talents of our artists in history class by making her the courtroom sketch artist.  Visual recording requires the practitioner to remain present in the moment to capture the emotion of events not just the facts at hand.

Lovett is a place where student choice matters…...
…...allowing small groups of lower schoolers to choose a text and join their small book groups to wrestle with big ideas and the evolution of characters, just as our Seniors make similar choices in AP Lit, completing individual passage analysis of texts chosen themselves. 

This is a place where teachers tune in to the circumstances that beset our students…..
….and find ways for them to capture the sunlight in the darkness.  Settling into the quiet to hear the pitch and rhythm of literal birdsong allowed students to notice:

  • I had no idea birds had different sounds.
  • Did you know a bird is able to sing notes below and above the piano within 1/10 th of a second? 
  • Did you know there is a Dawn Chorus that occurs first thing in the morning? 
  • This was both calming and peaceful. 
  • It is a fact that birds are mostly heard, and only sometimes seen. 
  • I found out you can call out to a bird and they will answer you back!

This is a place where history class connects with identity development (click image to watch the whole video)….
….allowing students to finish the year with insightful reflection, connecting scripture, “Where there is no vision, the people perish,” (Proverbs 29:18) to poetry, “It is our purpose to find truth,” (Maya Angelou) to themselves, “My lesson during this time is to be resilient, to move on from what is lost, continue to search for my bliss and do what I love,” (Brooks Mauldin). 

This is a place where each shoe is unique…….
…..because you never know when you will need to “upcycle” household objects to create footwear to demonstrate the power of sustainability.

At Lovett, the student is the centerpiece of all we do.  While you have clear learning goals and benchmarks, you design lessons that approach those benchmarks based on the children who sit in the seats of your classrooms (virtual or otherwise). You get to know the modalities that allow individual students to learn optimally and create lessons and opportunities for growth.  This is the "bespoke" nature of Lovett classes.  When a student that is a talented poet turns up in a 10th grade English class,you work to capitalize on that strength and may pivot that classroom activities in that direction.  So our curriculum does not exist in a vacuum. This is not “homeschool.” Rob Greene said, “I don’t care what you teach, but care a whole lot about what children learn,” and so do you, because you go to great lengths to connect that with who your students are. 

You do not teach a class of twenty, but twenty classes of one. Thank you!

With gratitude, 
Chelle
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The Lovett School is an independent, coeducational day school where children from Kindergarten through Grade 12 find the courage to explore and the drive to discover.

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