How do we find (or create) purpose-filled teachers/mentors, and from potentially new sources?

 

What if…

teachers had to have 5-10 years of other life experience before applying to be a teacher?

What if…

teachers applied to a job with a personal mission statement and then shared it with their students?

What if…

being an awesome teacher was at the intersection of:  interesting life experience(s), relatability to teens, and a drive/desire to help journey alongside students as wayfinders?


If we never provide students with information about what adults they admire find meaningful; if we never tell them about how those adults searched for purpose; if we never give them occasion for reflecting on their own searches and encourage them to ask the essential questions about what they want to do with their lives, we risk raising a generation that enters adulthood without direction — or, worse yet, hesitates to enter adulthood at all.”
— Bill Damon, The Path to Purpose
 

insights from the fall

Almost every student we spoke with in the fall had a very similar story about the kind of teacher they most admired. It was someone who had pursued another career path, and then returned to teaching as a true calling. Students could so easily sense the teachers who really wanted to be there with them, but didn’t have to be. It was clear that students were really magnetized by teachers with a sense of purpose and who were transparent about that and displayed vulnerability in front of students.

In his book The Path to Purpose, Damon talks about the importance of people in a young person’s life who model purpose, and who encourage her/him in that journey.  It’s a key ingredient that clearly maps to a student growing into the a purposeful path.

 

DESIGN EXPERIMENTS:  4 Areas of Exploration

(1) Redefining Roles + Imagining New Archetypes.  

  • How might we... reconsider the role of teacher to be a hybrid of mentor + dream director? 
  • How might we... re-envision the role of teacher to have dual roles: one as a traditional classroom teacher and another as an advisor, mentor, creative director, “way-guider”, etc?  
  • How might we...  reimagine the current segmented landscape of teachers, counselors and administrators to more fully and richly reflect the nuanced needs of students?  What new roles/archetypes might be needed?

 

(2) Inverting the Values and Metrics of the Current System.  

  • How might we... change the teacher hiring process to put a premium on relatability to teens and purposefulness, instead of content delivery and teaching credentials?  
  • How might we... measure, and actively filter for, these desired qualities?  
  • What does a “purpose test” look like?  
  • What role might students play in the hiring of teachers?
Early brainstorms about ways to bring in non-traditional teachers, and to flip the current value system by prioritizing interesting life experiences, purposefulness, and relatability to teens.

Early brainstorms about ways to bring in non-traditional teachers, and to flip the current value system by prioritizing interesting life experiences, purposefulness, and relatability to teens.

 

(3) Training for Purpose (for new or existing educators).  

  • How might we...  train new or existing teachers to have deep mentoring + advising relationships with students?
  • How might we... train them to have a transparent, comfortable and confident “purpose lens” in interactions with students?  
  • What might this training look like?

 

(4) Opening New Pipelines.  

  • How might we... attract new “purpose-driven” people to become teachers who otherwise would stay away from teaching?
  • How might we...  incentivize these people to become teachers?  
  • How might we... redefine what a teaching position/commitment looks like?
We looked at Encore.org for analogous inspiration for how to recruit teachers/mentors from the non-credential pipeline.  We were inspired by how they frame the work of individuals as being part of a larger movement, and how that might translate to recruiting a new wave of teachers...


We looked at Encore.org for analogous inspiration for how to recruit teachers/mentors from the non-credential pipeline.  We were inspired by how they frame the work of individuals as being part of a larger movement, and how that might translate to recruiting a new wave of teachers...

 

JOIN US

Feeling inspired?  Journey with us as we scale prototypes this spring.  

Comments, ideas, feedback are all welcome below.

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