Friday, February 26, 2016
We often talk about giving up the classrooms to the students. We talk about student voice and choice. We know that empowered students learn better and that when we, the adults, talk less and allow our students to lead and explore, great things can happen. Maya Angelou said, "Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." Today, I tried to do better. I was forced to do better. I hope to keep doing better for a long time.
When my PTO asked us to come up with ideas for an auction to raise funds for our school, someone suggested we auction off the position of "Principal for the Day." I agreed that it might be fun, so I went along with it. On the night of the auction, it was one of the more popular items for our students to bid on (tickets put into a bag with one ticket pulled as the winner.) I jokingly warned them, "It's probably not a job anyone wants." At the end of the auction, the winner was picked and an excited second grader came to claim her prize. Little did I know that her win would be my great fortune.
Today was the day that my little second grader cashed in on her winning ticket. I made a schedule for her and sent out a reminder to her teacher and her parents. Her mother and teacher told me she was excited. The schedule included all of the things I do on a regular day. Things like morning and afternoon bus duty. Things such as lunch duty and visits to classrooms through the day. She even got to help with a Lock-Down drill. Some of our district administrators agreed to come to meet with her, which was a bonus. And...because I am still a teacher, I added time for her to write a reflection on her day. It was a full and busy day. By the end of the day, I'm pretty sure she was tired and I know I was tired.
What I didn't know before the day started was how much I would learn from this second grader. Her thoughtful and poignant comments on the teacher observation forms got me thinking about how I could do a better job of recognizing the things our teachers are doing that make their classes engaging and fun. It also got me thinking that as teachers and administrators, we have to remember that student voice is powerful and very accurate. Her discussions with the administrators were telling. She gave them the student perspective on the curriculum, testing, and our programs. I'm sure that her ideas will lead to changes in what we do. Her thoughtful understanding of kindergarten behavior issues and suggestions for improvement made me proud. Most of all, I was reminded of how important it is that we listen to our students. Student voice is truly a powerful tool in building a better school.
Thank you Zoe Snellings for teaching me today.
Principal For The Day Schedule