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Independent Schools and K-12

I was an independent school teacher. In my career, I’ve taught grades 7-12, English, Economics, Political Science, American Studies, and more. I was a house director, supervising up to 80 boys in the residence, coaching a sport every term, doing campus supervisory duty, even selling hot dogs every weekend with the boys to raise money for the community. The life of a boarding school teacher isn’t one of under-scheduling.

I had to grade papers, lots of papers. And I probably did a lousy job at that. My handwriting is almost impossible to read, and more importantly, most of the time I didn’t have much to write. There were many ways I would have wanted to communicate a thought to the student and to give feedback, but top of that list was most assuredly not inline and side-of-the-page scribbles in red ink.

I taught students from over 60 countries in my career. Their parent’s lives were thousands of miles and multiple oceans away. The parents were totally out of the loop and, actually, so were the kids. They’d flip through each essay to the end, look at the grade, then rejoice or complain. They never even read the comments (if they even could have understood most of them). There was no way for the students to really engage in response to my feedback, absent a personal meeting. With the schedule I outlined above, did I have time (or the inclination) to meet with up to 100 kids every time I returned an assignment? Um, no.

That’s a pretty lousy system for any kid, especially one whose parents are now paying up to $60,000 a year to send them to an independent school. Crowdmark turns this frown upside down. It would have made not only my job but, seriously, my quality of life, so much better.

Crowdmark turns this frown upside down.

I would have used the built-in systems to give students feedback in alignment with the requirements of many state, regional, and provincial governing bodies. Beyond this super-user-friendly way to give text information to students, I would have linked to voice notes, video, and produced rich meaningful comments. Why? Let’s be painfully honest - even the best teachers (I was among them!) can be lazy. Crowdmark lets teachers provide infinitely better feedback with less effort. As I would have used Crowdmark more and more, it would have saved me even more time because the comments I’d write would become recyclable!

Best of all, Crowdmark would have created a much-needed information bridge for me with the outside world. Rather than a student complaining to their overseas (or US Senator) parent that I was an unfair grader, I could have given the parent access to the paper and all of my comments. The same holds true for my department head, the student’s advisor, and the head of school: my grading on Crowdmark could be shared with whom I want when I want. That’s a big win.

I can go on, and I’m sure I will in another blog post. For now, I hope you have a sense of how teachers will be able to use Crowdmark. It’s going to be a huge boost for them, the kids they teach, and their entire school communities.

Aron Solomon is global strategist and entrepreneur with a quarter century of experience at the intersection of education and innovation and serves as an advisor to Crowdmark.

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