Whose room is it?

“Do you ever feel like every time you walk into school a little piece of you is taken away, and when you leave school you don’t get it back?  CJ (student)

Go ahead and answer this questions — Whose room do you work in? To whom does it belong?

Now fill in the blanks with the best answer:

1- _______ classroom is a special place.

  1. My
  2. Our

2. ______ have control of the learning.

A. I

B. Students

3. ______ have responsibility for developing units of learning

  1. I
  2. Students

Steve Moore in a recent post had a single line that prompted this post. He wrote “I feel as though it is my school.” How many students feel as though it is “their school?” How many teachers? I bet if you made one graph showing students’ grades, and another showing the answer to the question “Do you feel as though it is your school?” the two graphs would match.

How do you empower students? How do you give them control? What are they responsible for? How do you give them responsibility?

What can they do that you haven’t already decided for them? What choices can they make that are authentic, and not you giving them two options for presenting material with a checklist that you made. Can they handle the power of making decisions? Does your school encourage students taking control, or does it encourage controlling students?

Can you imagine being told what to do for almost every minute each day?

  1. Wake up now
  2. Get on the bus now
  3. Stay on bus until 7:50am
  4. Go to homeroom
  5. Don’t stop to talk to friend in hallway
  6. Go to class now
  7. Take out the book
  8. Turn to this page
  9. Answer those questions
  10. Each question answered like this
  11. Leave class now
  12. Repeat 6 through 12 three more times.
  13. Go to lunch now.
  14. Finish eating now
  15. Repeat 6-12 three more times
  16. Go home now
  17. Take out book to do homework
  18. Turn to this page
  19. Answer those questions
  20. Each question answered like this
  21. Pass in homework on due date given to you
  22. Repeat 1-21 180 times during 10 months each year

If you knew you had the future President of the United States in your school is that the program you would want her to follow in preparation for leading our country?

Phillip the II once went to Alexander the Great’s teacher and said “strive to make yourself useless.” That is my goal each year.  I strive to make myself useless.  Slowly empower your students so that on the last day of school when you ask them “Whose room is this?”  They will answer,  “it is my room.”

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