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To everyone who joined these forums at some point, and got discouraged by the negativity and left after a while (or even got literally scared off): I'm sorry.

I wasn't good enough at encouraging people to be kinder, and removing people who refuse to be kind. Encouraging people is hard, and removing people creates conflict, and I hate conflict... so that's why I wasn't better at it.

I was a very, very sensitive teen. The atmosphere of this forum as it is now, if it had existed in 1996, would probably have upset me far more than it would have helped.

I can handle quite a lot of negativity and even abuse now, but that isn't the point. I want to help people. I want to help the people who need it the most, and I want to help people like the 1996 version of me.

I'm still figuring out the best way to do that, but as it is now, these forums are doing more harm than good, and I can't keep running them.

Thank you to the few people who have tried to understand my point of view so far. I really, really appreciate you guys. You are beautiful people.

Everyone else: If after everything I've said so far, you still don't understand my motivations, I think it's unlikely that you will. We're just too different. Maybe someday in the future it might make sense, but until then, there's no point in arguing about it. I don't have the time or the energy for arguing anymore. I will focus my time and energy on people who support me, and those who need help.

-SoulRiser

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"one of the top-ten new jobs in 2025 will be unschooling counselor"
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xcriteria Offline
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Post: #1
"one of the top-ten new jobs in 2025 will be unschooling counselor"

This article is from Catherine Gobron, who's worked at North Star Teens for the past decade, and is co-founding a new self-directed learning center in MA called Lighthouse.

As I learn more about North Star and how it's now being replicated in various places, and I keep finding similar programs and unschooling consultants in various places (like Rise Out in Boston), I find myself wondering how that applies to the dark reality that's the norm on School Survival of being forced to go to school with no viable alternatives.

We're probably all familiar with "alternative schools" of various kinds, from tech centers to more prison-like schools that some parents love to threaten their kids with. But North Star / Liberated Learners is different; it really isn't "school," even though it offers the same opportunity to leave home and interact with other young people and teacher-like adults. The big difference is that everything is voluntary, and you aren't expected to be there full-time.

For Me, the Future of Teaching Is Already Here

Quote:Sparks & Honey, a New York City-based firm of futurists, predicts that one of the top-ten new jobs in 2025 will be unschooling counselor. That's what I do now, and I can definitely see why many other professionals will soon be joining me.

My job offers all the best parts of teaching: supporting growth, creating access, inspiring minds... all the things that make working with young people feel meaningful and worthwhile.

Then I get to skip all of the unpleasant and draining aspects of teaching in schools like enforcing rules I don't care about, dragging students through curriculum they don't care about, and judging students on tasks that may not suit them.

I get to build relationships based on respect and collaboration. I do not need to bribe, praise, threaten, manipulate, or cajole. I am a resource. My students are not peers, but they are equals. My work is a teacher's dream come true.

My initial decision to work with students outside of school was a difficult one, because school is where the kids are. I chose to become a teacher because I wanted to create a different experience for students than the one I had as a teen. As an adolescent I needed more adults to see through my anger and apathy, to see the real me and my potential. As a teacher I wanted to be that adult.

Then just one semester into my graduate program and it was painfully clear that this wasn't going to work for me. High school wasn't a good place for me as a kid, and it wasn't a good place for me as an adult, either. I needed to find another way to serve.

I applaud and appreciate the legions of teachers who show up to school every day to pour their hearts into their classrooms. Our current way of life depends on this commitment, and I know that many, many students have positive experiences in that setting.

I know that there are rewards to teaching in schools, but I can also imagine how challenging it must be. I can see why more of you are going to start doing what I do instead.

I coach teens to leave uninspiring school experiences in favor of self-directed learning. I work with teens who excelled academically in school and those who did not, with teens who suffered deeply and others who limped along, with teens who have dreams that can't wait for graduation and with teens who have never dared to dream before. I connect with them as individuals and help them create a customized learning experience focused entirely on who they are and what they want, now, and in the future.

Already many teachers are joining me. I work for North Star: Self-Directed Learning for Teens in Hadley, Massachusetts, and there are now seven programs based on our model, all staffed by teachers who have left the system to work with young people in a new way.

Right now there are affiliated programs for self-directed learning in:

Princeton, NJ
Ottawa, Ontario
New Haven, CT
Portland, OR
Grand Rapids, MI
Canton, NY
and Dedham, MA.

In addition there are many other similar programs popping up all over. You can see a map HERE.

I'm not at all surprised that Sparks and Honey identified this career as a future phenomenon. For me, that future is already here. I'm looking forward to meeting the rest of you when you get here.

Why not share this article with your teachers and parents, and ask them why you can't help launch a similar program in your area?

Peter Gray & allies launching the Alliance for Self-directed Education

ASDE Newsletters: #1 Announcement | #2 History of ASDE | #6 Education Liberation


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(This post was last modified: 05-31-2015 08:43 PM by xcriteria.)
05-31-2015 08:39 PM
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