On prepping to build…

There are three main ways to prep a piece of land before you build a house. You can try to get the property as barren and flat as possible by clearing and leveling the land- wiping out most of the natural features and beauty in the process. Think of this as that new suburban development going in where the goal is consistency, speed, and keeping costs low.

You can fully embrace the natural landscape, keeping all the trees, water, hills, and boulders where they are- incorporating all the features into the design. Think of this as one of those unreal tree houses that you’ve seen on Discovery Channel or Animal Planet. The goal here is customization, so consistency, speed, and low costs are out the window.

Finally, you can work somewhere in between- keep some of the distinguishing features of the property while clearing/leveling enough to provide a strong foundation on which build the house.

In education, our students don’t come to us as a clear, flat piece of property on which to build. While that might be the most efficient place to start, we cannot strip away all that makes them unique before laying the foundation. The goal of education should not be consistency, speed, and keeping costs low. On the other hand, some teachers address 200 students per day so they can’t provide the full ‘Treehouse Masters’ experience for everyone. Instead they’ve got to take some time to assess the natural landscape, keep those important distinguishing features in place, clear out a few areas or misconceptions, and then use that knowledge to find the best location to lay the foundation before they start to build. This takes time, but is worth the effort. Let’s think of this before we push teachers to dive into content and building before they’ve had the time to assess the property.