Teaching Philosophy

Home  /  Our People  /  Teaching Philosophy
Ask any BASIS Independent student what makes their school different and they will tell you, "the teachers." The foundation of our culture and the success of our students lies in the hands of our teachers. Our administration exists to support our teachers so they can focus very clearly on educating our students to new levels.

Subject matter expertise and the passion to inspire students are the most important tools.

Educators with academic degrees in the disciplines they teach, whether calculus or grade 1 Mandarin, have a passion for their subjects that no teacher training can provide. We hire the country's brightest and most promising minds who are committed to sharing their subject matter expertise with students. While many have been teaching for years in college preparatory or university settings, some are leaping into a new career, leaving a research lab or corporate job to share their experience and applied knowledge with BASIS Independent students. Over 70% of BASIS Curriculum teachers have a Master's degree or higher in their subject.

We have a variety of specialist educators in our classrooms:

Subject Expert Teachers (SETs): Present in all classes grades 1–12, these teachers are the shepherds of academic content in our classrooms. Their focus is ensuring high-level mastery.

Learning Expert Teachers (LETs): Present in most grade 1–4 classes, these teachers are masters of the learning process. Their focus is on ensuring that the SETs are reaching each and every child in the class. They also play a lead role in literacy as well as Connections classes.

Teaching Fellows (TFs): These invaluable educators play a role across all grades, acting as support to a SET of a particular discipline and/or grade level. Typically early on in their career, they are teachers in training under the mentorship of a more experienced educator. They are also often the shepherds of our Student Support services, building rapport with students before they have a very class of their own.

Kindergarten Expert Teachers (KETs): Present only in Kindergarten classrooms, KETs are responsible for delivering most content to students and bringing pedagogical expertise to the classroom, with the consistent support of a Teaching Fellow.

Early Learning Teachers (ELTs) and Early Learning Specialists (ELSs): Present exclusively in the Early Learning Program, ELTs are the Early Learning equivalent of LETs and ELSs are the Early Learning equivalent of SETs. The key differentiator is demonstrated expertise and experience in early childhood education.

We require prospective teachers and students to attend Teacher Demo Days.

BASIS Independent teachers are classroom warriors, and they prove their mastery before they are invited into our community. Upon selection as top candidates, prospective teachers are asked to teach a lesson during one of our regular Teacher Demo Days. Heads of School assemble classes of our students, and candidates are given the opportunity to teach a lesson, challenge students, and show their subject expertise, as well as show their ability to communicate high-level subject matter to young students while inspiring them. Our students take these sessions extremely seriously as they know that their feedback weighs heavily in our hiring decisions.

It is a condition of employment that our teachers demonstrate a natural connection with students and a strong ability to learn and adjust quickly to new and demanding situations.

We know that, in the classroom, student achievement is directly related to student happiness.

Because of their teachers, our students are not only among the highest achieving in the world, but they are also happy and satisfied with their teachers. We don't think it is by accident. The results of the BASIS Curriculum School 2014 OECD Test for Schools (Based on PISA) speaks to the quality of our teachers. The results place BASIS Curriculum Schools highest in the world for student knowledge of reading, mathematics, and science, and the use of critical thinking in problem solving, as well as satisfaction with their teachers. BASIS Curiculum students feel that their teachers' level of support and care is also world-class.

Our network of support stretches far beyond that offered at BASIS Independent Brooklyn.

Learning never stops for a BASIS Independent teacher. New and seasoned BASIS Independent teachers have professional training that takes place throughout the school year via a peer-mentoring program and collaboration with Subject Advisors, seasoned teachers, and on-site managers.

Subject Advisors are veteran faculty members who share their knowledge of pedagogical technique with new and seasoned BASIS Independent teachers and are the developers and gatekeepers to their discipline's core curriculum. Subject Advisors partner with teachers to outline and discuss various instructive strategies and methods to allow them, as professionals, to determine which approach works best for them. As collaborators, Subject Advisors work with teachers to ensure students stay on track and master their subjects, and inspire teachers to present material to students in a way that is both challenging and fun.

Balancing teacher autonomy with expectations of success attracts and retains classroom innovators.

At BASIS Independent, we give teachers the freedom and flexibility to do what they do best: teach! While we ensure and monitor the quality of our program through a proprietary interscholastic collaborative platform called BeLa, we give teachers the freedom to create the pace and teaching tactics that will ensure the success of every student in their class.

When we see great work in the classroom, we recognize it and replicate it. Teachers are eligible for end of year bonuses based on their performance and movers and shakers are invited to participate in shaping the curriculum and best practices utilized in the BASIS Independent classroom.

Everyone has that one teacher who left a lasting impact, who made you love science or love French. Usually it is just that, the one teacher, or the handful who changed your life as a student. At BASIS Independent, we're all that one teacher, striving to foster the most academically rich and engaging experience for our students possible.

Read more BASIS Independent stories...

Mike Mandeville
French Teacher

BASIS Independent Schools: Faculty