Valuable Lessons from Preston Smith, the President of Rocketship Education

Educators often learn things about pedagogical theory and application by getting their feet wet in schools, rather than finding them out in training or throughout the time spent earning degrees. This holds true with Preston Smith, the President and co-founder of Rocketship Education, a group of public charter schools in America.

Earlier this year, just two months ago, Mr. Smith released a list of the ten most important aspects of teaching he’s picked up on in his ten years with Rocketship Education. Rather than holding them internally for his own utilization, he kindly allowed the rest of educational America pick up on the hard-fought lessons he’d became privy to.

Children with disabilities are subject to Rocketship’s meaningful inclusion model, in which they spend around four-fifths of each day at school with non-disabled students in general classrooms. Traditionally, these students have been placed in special education classrooms that are small and focused on meeting their needs more than accomplishing any other tasks. While it does seem beneficial for students with special needs to be exposed to these classes, not allocating a large majority of their days spent at school is unfair to them, other students, and teachers.

Parents remit surveys regarding their kids’ experiences at class on at least a monthly basis. Teachers are expected to change their behaviors based on what surveys read. As such, it’s important for teachers to be flexible as their primary positive characteristic, rather than having decades of experience or college degrees from nation-leading postsecondary institutions.

All persons involved with schooling, no matter how large schools are, involved parents are, or young kids are, should bring together opinions from outside sources. This holds especially true for those employed by schools, the ones whose performance in educating students matters more to their welfare than anyone else.

Teachers’ demographic makeups and cultural backgrounds should match that of their students. Some educational institutions strive to have their students’ characteristics match that of their aggregate bodies of teachers, although kids should never be chosen for admission based on their demographics – however, doing so is more than acceptable for employing teachers.