In any classroom in the United States, there are common “best practices” that schools employ to provide a rich experience for students. However, we cannot resist the overwhelming data showing that we are failing tremendously to provide high-quality education nationwide.
In my four-day experience in California, I have had the opportunity to visit multiple schools that have introduced blended learning as part of their educational climate. I’ve witnessed multiple models and heard from visionary leaders regarding their new approaches to educating children. I’ll admit that every model looks enticing, which can make it hard to determine what to implement. But one word that has resonated with me is “Epic.”
Epic is a game-based school located in California. Each student has his or her own Avatar, and the goal is to gain points and badges and to unlock levels to access new content and increased freedom. It is a radical and uncomfortable yet exciting model that left me inspired to push my vision for education.
While I am aware that the educational system may never employ this model broadly, I want to push educators to think on an “Epic” level. Imagine that you could create the ultimate classroom or school: How could you make it epic? We as educators have a creative talent that has been lost amidst the pressure to perform high and be in compliance. However, this is the opposite of epic! In writing this post, I want teachers to know that you have talent, vision, and a voice, talent. Your ability to be great is not solely based on the data results, test prep, or a teacher evaluation rubric. Some things are so great that they can’t be quantified! They are epic!
This experience has exposed me to the risk-takers and epic ideas. I have learned many lessons, which I will sum up in three short points:
- To be epic, you must be unsatisfied with the current system in place.
- To be epic, you must be willing to get it wrong and be content with mess.
- To be epic, you must be relentless in your pursuit, despite voices that will cause you to question everything you are doing.
Be an epic educator, not an average teacher!