“School is boring!” Does it have to be?

I absolutely love thinking and learning about schools and students and I assume a lot of other teachers do too. Yet in my experience as a teacher I rarely have an opportunity to sit down in the context of my job with other equally charged teachers and talk and plan new programs and new curriculum and new approaches to engaging students. I don’t just mean throw ideas out – I mean really thoroughly develop new ideas. Why is this?

Time is a factor. Competing demands is a factor. The complexity of just getting through a teaching day in one piece is a factor. Lack of focused leadership is sometimes a factor. Disrespect toward the abilities of teachers is a factor. Of these I think time limitations might be easiest to solve.

A lack of time in the schedule for teachers to work together leads to the strangulation of creative thinking and collaborative problem-solving. The impact of this oxygen deprivation is that kids are bored too much of the day, teachers feel dissatisfied, and none of us move beyond the mediocre status quo. We need to shake it up!

So what if we took our schedules and turned them inside out and upside down and prioritized finding time for teachers to innovate and collaborate and turn our schools into places kids really wanted to be!? This is the time of year when schools begin setting next year’s schedule into stone. Let’s not do this the usual way – let’s really prioritize what we talk so much about … transforming our schools!



Kathreen Harrison

About Kathreen Harrison

Kathreen Harrison is a public school teacher in Maine. She has a master’s degree from Bank Street College of Education and a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College. She has worked in a variety of schools in New York and Maine in a number of capacities – French teacher, gifted and talented teacher, elementary school teacher, and curriculum coordinator for island schools. She has lived in Maine for 20 years and has a particular interest in school reform.