The blog post below was written by one of our teachers new to Compass this fall, Amanda Lara. In it, she reflects on how teaching at Compass feels different than any other teaching environment in which she has taught. If you are wondering what distinguishes Compass. I have a two-word response: Non-coercion. When you trust kids, everything changes. And then having talented teachers like Amanda doesn’t hurt either.


The fall season, with its greying skies and fire-bright leaves, always seems to encourage some kind of introspection – at least for me. And as we’re closing in on the end of this fall semester, it feels like a good time to reflect on my experience here at Compass so far.

I’ve been lucky enough to teach in schools in Morocco, Spain and Japan, and while working with young people is certainly nothing new for me, at Compass, it’s been a novel experience, to say the least.

Compass students are an exceptional bunch. They are inquisitive, friendly, unique and 100% genuine. Compass classes can be lively -uh, pretty lively, yah – debates about how to practice persuasive techniques used in essay writing, and they can be silly and certainly kooky, with storytelling conventions and funny voice rehearsals, too.

Working with young people always excites me, but working within the Compass community makes me feel as though I really get to be a part of something special and important.

I get to help students sharpen their tools in order to get closer to what they’re truly interested in, from how to use a semicolon to how to write a legitimate film or video game review. I get to see real learning in action, and I get to see them see it, too.

But getting to feel this way is largely due to the fact that the community at Compass – the staff, support, and most of all, the students, all bring something to the table. Every day.

Compass students make me laugh (oh yes), and they make me think, and they make me feel really fortunate to be here. When you get to be a part of a learning environment like that, it feels like a dream job. Happy fall, all.