Teachers and staff are the keys to education. There is no substitute for a great teacher in the world of education. Even the most outstanding curriculum design and state of the art facilities cannot override the importance of an outstanding teacher. Children may well forget what they were taught in school, but they never forget who taught them. Children must happy at school. There should atmosphere of love and joy, a real sense of community. If children feel safe and happy in school, then the environment is conducive for learning. It is teachers who create this atmosphere.
Schools must be committed to the provision of professional development for all teachers and staff. All those involved in the education of young minds must be conversant with the latest educational research and pedagogical trends. Schools have a duty to empower their teachers because it is through teachers that children are empowered.
An outstanding teacher does not just teach Mathematics or English Language but teaches the hearts and minds of the children entrusted to their care. This is a tremendous responsibility. It is the duty of an educator to instil in his/her students the values of respect, forgiveness, openness and joy, cherish each student, and be sensitive to each student’s diverse talents, abilities, and needs. In doing so, we seek to create unity through diversity. This philosophy is arguably more important in the international sector, where children have the opportunity to develop international-mindedness.
A school must have a strong sense of vision and purpose. An outstanding school must have a strong sense of identity. This identity should be driven by the school’s Mission and be articulated through clearly identified Student Learning Outcomes. It is its ethos and identity that makes a school distinctive. The essential point is that all staff, students, and parents understand the philosophy that underpins the nature and purpose of their school.
All in the community should be aware of the history, tradition and culture of the school. An outstanding school must have a philosophy of education deals with the essence of the human person and the inalienable human rights of every individual. Every child has the right to a personalized curriculum. An outstanding school must recognize that no two children have the same needs. It is not just children with identified additional needs that should have Individualized Education Plans, but all children have an entitlement to learn.
Children have a right to be well prepared for college, university and the workplace. It is the duty of schools to provide for these essential components of education. Children have a right to be challenged by rigorous academic programs and be empowered with tools that equip them to be lifelong learners. Such preparedness implies that children have a right to be taught more than just how to pass examinations. Today, our children are entering a world of work that is very different from the one known to their parents. Therefore, children must be given opportunities to be creative, think critically, work collaboratively, and grow to love learners. These are the essential 21st-century skills. Children also have a right to the best tools for learning that are available. Still, educators must always be aware of what is essential for learning and development and the tools that facilitate such learning. Technology plays an essential role in the modern world, but educators must remember that current technologies may be obsolete within the blink of an eye.
Education is a partnership. When schools and parents work closely together, children are more likely to be successful. An outstanding school cultivates its relationship with its parental body and ensures that parents and teachers work together to ensure the best for the students. Effective communications are important. If heart speaks to heart, then the chances of a school producing outstanding young people for the future of their world is more likely.