The American Education System: Outdated? [Former Principal Weighs In]

Is the American Education system outdated?

We asked Azul Terronez, a famous Tedx Speaker and former leading Principal, his thoughts on the American education system.

Today you’ll find Azul coaching aspiring authors, working on his podcast and interviewing Gen Z entrepreneurs who, he believes, will be running the show in the not-so-distant-future.

Before shifting his career into the online world, he had a very successful career in the American education system as a teacher, principal and consultant, coaching schools.

His TEDx Talk, What Makes a Good Teacher Great?, has received almost 400,000 views (at the time of this writing).

It was Terronez’s frustration with the American Education System that resulted in his ultimate decision to leave it and further pursue his career as a public speaker.

He wanted to have an impact on a more global level.

“I was an English teacher. I taught writing and literature and US history… and all of them I used to hate. I shouldn’t say this, but I hated teaching those things. Number one, I’m dyslexic and so writing, in general, was always hard. So I never taught the rules of grammar stuff because I never found them as valuable, but I wanted kids to learn to find their voice.”

We recently spoke to Terronez and he shared some of the changes he would like to see in the American education system.

Don’t Teach Kids, Inspire Them

“I was always a misfit in the education world because I always pushed against teaching kids. Inspire them to do something great, and they will. Have them meet the needs of a test, and they’ll probably do that too, but like Campbell’s Law says, the very thing you use to measure kids are the things that actually defeat the purpose of measuring them.

Here’s an example:  I taught Integrated Humanities, which meant history and social studies, and I honestly got so tired of teaching early US history. I mean, they understood it in fifth grade. They don’t want to hear about the colonies anymore.

They’re just bored of it, to be honest. Sure, some kids really liked it because that’s their natural interest but most of them were just disinterested.

I really like those worst-case scenario books. Have you seen books, where you flip them open and it says, like, how to hotwire cars? ‘Oh, that’s cool. I’d always wanted to learn that.’ Or to survivor a bear attack or how to jump from a moving car? Things you shouldn’t teach a kid, but I was fascinated by.

So I said, what if we did that?

What if we made it a worst-case scenario book, but for the colonists? So we did. It was called a New World Survival Handbook, and these kids figured all the things that could go wrong. Like, ‘What if they have this shark attack?’ ‘I don’t know.’

So they would write these things and draw and illustrate how to survive a shark attack. And it was fun, but it was just a meant for them to re-engage into learning that they cared about.”

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