By Zemen Marrugi, M.Ed.
As an art enthusiast, going to the Faberge exhibit at the Detroit Institution of the Arts was a no- brainer. Walking through the sections, taking in all of the detail on the precious objects that have mesmerized millions over the past century was exciting. From the Easter egg inspired containers to the delicate crystal vase miniature floral pieces, each item was creatively handcrafted and continues to be admired today. However, it was not until midway through the exhibit that I realized the similarity between the House of Faberge and what should be today’s educational system.
What amazed me most about the House of Faberge was the emphasis on teamwork. Due to their delicate and excessive amount of work, no Faberge item was ever created by one person from start to finish. The company stood strong because each master craftsman had his specific role in contributing to the “masterpieces,” treasures that attracted the attention of the Russian aristocracy.
Just like the Faberge master craftsmen, teachers today need to work together because a success educational career does not happen by just having an accomplished fourth grade teacher. If the overall goal is to have a successful school, then the same amount of commitment to excellence needs to be emphasized by every classroom in a school building.
As a teacher, I know that every individual in a school plays a significant role in developing a student into becoming a respectful, responsible and educated young person. Everyone! From the classroom teacher to the lunch lady, office staff and administration team-every adult in a school system plays a vital role in “crafting” a successful learning environment. More importantly, all of these different entities must have a common ground for expectation in regards to behavior, homework, classroom, instruction, rigor, participation and parental involvement.
The idea of teachers closing their classroom doors and taking care of their own students is a thing of the past because our educational system is not measured by individual classroom performance but a school as whole. Just like the craftsmen as the House of Faberge shared the secrets to their craft with their fellow craftsmen, teachers need to do the same when it comes to sharing best practices with their fellow educators. After all, teaching is an art of its own and there are a lot of great educators out there so let us stop reinventing the wheel and begin leaning on each other for advice, feedback, and resources. The day teachers actually begin seeing the importance of team effort in a school’s overall performance is the day the entire school will succeed in educating every child in the building.