Saturday, April 18, 2015

Leadership Begins in the Classroom

If you are like me and you teach older students, you can really take advantage of their wisdom and knowledge of being in the school system for several years. You can teach your older students to be leaders in the school!
Formal teacher leadership roles can at times be overrated. Sometimes, you may  just want to stay in your classroom and lead your students! To get the best of both worlds (being recognized for your leadership contributions in the school, while staying in the classroom),  become the ``go-to`` class within in the school. What this means is, other teachers and staff within the school are so impressed by your students behaviour and level of responsibility, that your students are regularly invited and relied on to make the overall school climate a more positive place to learn, work and play in.
For example, being the ``go-to`` class means, that your students are asked to do a number of roles within the school such as: lunch monitoring, peer mediating, reading buddies, etc. Having your students be asked to do these very important roles doesn't just happen out of no where. Your students need to be nurtured and groomed into responsible contributing members of society.
 Modeling positive peer-to-peer interactions is key. I know that my students are watchful of my interactions with other staff members. If I can't play nice well than, how can I expect my students to?
So, how do you help support leadership development within your students? One way I like to help support my students is by designing rich tasks that calls on my student`s background knowledge and skill-set to build real relationships with younger students. I link up with other teachers and co-create tasks that are meaningful for both the younger students and my own.
My students really do enjoy the experience of being student leaders. However, their enjoyment really depends on my own attitude too! If I tell my students that I have something really fun planned for them and am super excited, they feed off of my energy. If I don`t build up the importance of the task and encourage them along the way, I will quickly lose them and my students will disengage. So my suggestion is to really sell the experiences you plan for your students and believe in the process!
I hope you enjoyed  the pictures I included of my student leaders with the grades 1s helping them on a measurement scavenger hunt!

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