Being a fan of culinary arts, I can't help but make connections between the service and education industries respectively. I was watching Gordon Ramsay's "Kitchen Nightmares" and realized that both of our professions are similar in many ways.
Ramsay is arguably a master in his field. To be one of the best you must learn from the best, and he has learned from some of the world's best (he's said this a number of times). He's seen how great restaurants are run all over the world. Also, knowing that every one of them seeks and attracts a certain kind of guest. Each one of them also has different standards and expectations when it comes to service and quality. Some are expensive, other are "the ones I go to". Yet the great ones are resourceful and pursue excellence no matter the budget. Ramsay realizes this throughout the show and suggests what is best for each particular one. Some are simple issues. Others need major overhauls from cleanliness, methods, to change in philosophy. Yet no restaurant disputes the most important element: the clientèle.
Education also has many masters. Why aren't some of them on TV?! The masters of education also learn from the best (who doesn't right?!). They have also seen effective classes, schools, and districts around the world. All of them also have individual standards and expectations when it comes to quality of education (and yes even service). Some have more funding than others.Yet the great ones are resourceful and pursue excellence no matter the budget. The leaders in our field (from the teacher on up) also suggest what is the most effective when it comes to teaching. Again, some are simple glitches in the system. Other times, major change in teaching philosophy is required. Yet no school disputes the most important element: the student.
I'm sure there are many other comparisons and contrasts when it comes to the two professions. The point is that you must apply what is effective and be your worst critic when it comes to measuring its success. The food industry may be more systematic and routine. Then again, isn't most of what we do systematic and routine? And doesn't the classroom have to be a reflection of its surrounding society? It is the advantage that I have the teacher, to implement routine that is not boring to the clientèle and doesn't suck.
One of the main reasons why I was so motivated to create this site was a commencement speech (originally given somewhere else) given by Stephen Krashen at the NABE conference in Dallas 2012. I was so excited and relieved to hear a world renowned expert in education tell the truth like it is. After watching and listening to the man, and reading his address my professional life deeply connected with my personal ideals with his approach on the issue.
Enough said, read his speech for yourself: "Our Schools are Not Broken"