September 22, 2020

Assumptions humans believe about school

My wife and became reluctant homeschoolers during Covid. As we figure out what school looks this year, it’s been interesting to reevaluate assumptions about school, and to consider if those assumptions are valid in the age of remote learning.

This post inspired by Patrick McKenzie's Falsehoods Programmers Believe Amount Names. In that post, Patrick says, "All of these assumptions are wrong." I'm not making that claim here.

Location

  • Students live near their school.
  • Teachers live near their school.
  • Administrators live near their school.
  • (Teachers | Students | Administrators) live in the same (city | state | country) as their school.
  • A school has a building.
  • Schools are funded by local property taxes.
  • Teachers work for a single school.
  • Students attend a single school.
  • Parents consider proximity when choosing a school.
  • Parents consider proximity to good schools when choosing their homes.

Schedule

  • School runs from ~8 to 3.
  • School runs 6+ hours a day.
  • School runs five days a week.
  • School runs concurrent with the “typical” workday.
  • It’s more convenient for parents if school runs concurrent with the “typical” work day.
  • School does not run at night.
  • School does not run on weekends.
  • School runs at the same time for all students.
  • Parents and students have no choice about when school runs.

Students

  • Students are in classes.
  • Students in the same class are the same age.
  • Students in the same class learn the same material at the same pace.
  • Students are in grades.
  • Grades are determined by the students' age at the beginning of the year.
  • Students the same age learn the same things.
  • Students are in the same grade for each subject.
  • A student repeats a grade, but not a class.

Teachers

  • Teachers are certified.
  • Teachers are professionals.
  • Teachers teach one grade.
  • Teachers are subject matter experts.
  • Teachers are not subject matter experts.
  • A teacher can’t teach more than 30 kids.
  • A teacher can’t teach more than 30,000 kids.
  • Teachers manage their class.
  • Teachers give grades.
  • Teachers prepare the curriculum.
  • Teachers talk to parents.
  • Teachers teach synchronously
  • Teachers are full-time.
  • Teachers are individuals, not teams.
  • Teachers are human.

Since our daughter is in elementary school, that's mostly where my thoughts are. It's interesting how many of these assumptions don't hold up for college.

Patrick also says in his post, "This list is by no means exhaustive." That certainly is true here too. This list scratches the surface. What am I missing?