Having once served in the roles of both a classroom teacher and professional counselor has helped inform the conviction that our work as educators is not only about understanding the subjects we teach, but also the students we teach. We are daily faced with the challenge of bringing them to a better understanding of the subject matter, as well as bringing ourselves to a better understanding of them – a good reminder not only for a new week, but (perhaps) also for a discouraged or frustrated teacher.
Vision & Focus
As suggested in the previous update, the liberal arts of education (the humanities and the languages, math and science, music and logic, etc.) are the liberating arts. They not only can free the mind from ignorance in all its shapes and sizes (pooled ignorance, groupthink, etc), but also help it break out of the myriad of “mind blinds” to which all humans are so susceptible and into which we all so easily fall if left to ourselves.
What is a “mind blind”? It is that most curious phenomenon when members of the human species struggle to see what is obviously there, or can’t see what is really happening or won’t see what many others see. Sometimes referred to as the Ostrich Syndrome, it most certainly has nothing to do with one’s level of intelligence – some of the smartest people in the world were riddled by mind blinds (Howard Hughes and Antony Flew).
For example, it is not a low I.Q. or a learning disability that develops a mind blind, but things like stubbornness, pride or dishonesty. Propaganda and nefarious ideologies serve only to solidify mind blinds while authentic education challenges and exposes the same. Our role is clearly the latter, consistent with the liberating arts of freedom that comprise and sustain education’s transcendent vision and focus.
The Primary Priority
By the time you read this, my daughter and I will be flying high over the Atlantic Ocean on our way to Rwanda, Africa. We will be working there for 10 days with one of the fastest growing schools in the country on a two-fold mission: (1) To train their teachers and students in structured literacy, (2) To help them deal with their generational trauma wounds. Concerning the latter, many of these Rwandan youngsters have parents who endured the genocide back in 1994. Consequently, much of their pain and trauma gets passed on to their children.
This will be an effort, therefore, that deals with both the cognitive and the affective – not only the mind, but the emotions as well, reinforcing again both head and heart as the primary priority.
Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship Q&A
When will the Wyoming Teacher Apprenticeship be available in other school districts besides the pilot districts?
The WDE intends to begin conversations with interested districts in Fall 2023. The soonest these districts would be recruiting apprentices would be in Spring 2024. The WDE and pilot districts need time to begin and refine the apprenticeship program once it is approved by the U.S. Department of Labor.
In the Spotlight
Last year, the Wyoming Department of Education (WDE) launched a campaign to encourage and support the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The statewide campaign includes digital media, a website, and support tools for schools and communities. UNLOCK YOUR FUTURE…FAFSA IS THE KEY encourages students to unlock the possibilities, and reach the next level in life.
On October 1, 2022 we launched this year’s FAFSA Completion Challenge. The WDE will track FAFSA completion (this will not be based on submission, but confirmed completion) percentage rate by high school, in four size categories just as we did last year. A cash prize of $500 will be awarded to the winning schools in the name of their counselor. Root your school on, students, parents, and school staff can track their progress on the FAFSA website dashboard.
I want to give a shout-out to all our Wyoming high school counselors. Helping students find their pathway forward after graduation is key to their success, and completing the FAFSA is a big part of that. For all your efforts, you are ‘In the Spotlight’ this week.
Mark Your Calendar
Join the Wyoming MTSS Center Tier 2 & 3 in-person training on October 14 at Little America in Cheyenne to learn the essential features of interventions.
Register now before it’s too late.