When I decided to leave the business world for education, there were days when I questioned my decision. There were many voices who influenced my new path, from my parents to others I met along the way. One of those voices was silenced yesterday. Ted Sizer was the Dean of the School of Education at Brown while I was training to be a teacher. I had the honor as serving as one of his many teaching assistants for his hugely popular course on education in America.
I appreciated his honesty, directness, and unwavering focus on children. He learned about schools by following students as they are the real school experts. He made sure to remind any of his undergrad and grad students what was essential when we got too full of ourselves and we appeared to lose our focus. He had simple phrases that shaped his beliefs and the core values of the Coalition of Essential Schools.
“Student as learner, teacher as coach…High school is hormones…Less is more”…
Although I know that he would not remember me among the thousands of educators he influenced over the years, his lifelong curiosity and commitment to student learning set a high standard for all of us.