My first full time job as a teacher was at the Sterling Hall School of Toronto. Sterling Hall (SHS) is a highly respected boys’ school that was, in hindsight, on the cutting edge of progressive education. Our principal, Ian Robinson, walked in to a staff meeting and pronounced that “in the future it won’t be so much about getting a job as creating one. We need to prepare our boys as job creators.” This was a departure from the oft-quoted wisdom of the time which still catches most teachers’ fancy “we can’t imagine the jobs our students will have as they have not yet been invented.”
In the years that have passed since my time at Sterling Hall Ian’s words have become progressively more true. The evidence is everywhere. Newspaper articles abound about university graduates working in coffee shops. (I note that there is nothing wrong with working in a coffee shop, but alas, it’s probably not what the university graduate had in mind). Our own list of teacher applicants to Headwaters Academy is a mile long. We received our first job applications months before our first student applications. The most passionate of these candidates are being interviewed because they want to build the ideal school with us. However, I am sure that some are just applying to every job ad they see as there is desperation in the Ontario (and wider Canadian) teacher job market.
Moreover, beyond the economics of jobs there is the simple truth that social entrepreneurship makes a difference. A quick look at our webpage will find the endorsement from Jeremy Rhodes for Headwaters Academy. Jeremy founded Elephant Thoughts after traveling the world and seeing a lack of quality educational opportunity for students. His work, and that of his team, now makes a difference worldwide, including work here in the Georgian Triangle and at home with our Canadian native populations.
We take entrepreneurship seriously at Headwaters Academy. Our students may very well choose to become excellent employees – great ideas and action are not the exclusive domain of the entrepreneur. However, as jobs become less common our students will be prepared with the tools necessary to see their own ideas, beliefs, and passions successfully grow in to lasting change in their communities.
Editor’s Note: The featured photo is a view from our classroom. The other photo is from our Open House.