Going Shoeless

We started on a bit of an experiment today. When we’re in our classroom, students can go shoeless if they so desire. In the past we used the shelving unit above for shoes at home but we bought something classier (not a high bar) so this was available for school. A quick trip to the dollar store netted pairs of socks for my students (as I’m willing to try shoeless but not barefoot).

During the summer someone shared an article with me about students going shoeless and the positive impact on achievement. I was skeptical, but started reading. After following some links and getting a better sense of the study I moved on to other things. But the idea of shoelessness stayed in the back of my mind.

The more I thought about it, the more I figured, why not. It’s a pretty low bar to entry for it. There’s not a lot of effort necessary to give it a try. I decided to wait until we’d had a couple of weeks of school and gotten a handle on being together before adding this. So today was our first day. I wouldn’t say I saw increased achievement today (shockingly enough) but the kids did love it. Every one of them took their shoes off every chance they got. (I will say, my one kiddo who is regularly removing his shoes and replacing them on his feet did not have that distraction so that’s a win.)

I don’t really expect this to suddenly increase achievement for my students. I’m far from convinced it’s that simple. However, if students are more comfortable without their shoes, then why not. I know I’m more likely to be focused and productive when I’m feeling comfortable. So we’ll keep going shoeless if we want and see how it works for us.

A couple of friends pointed out that fire drills will be a challenge. I’m still mulling over exactly how to plan for that one.

5 replies on “Going Shoeless”

  1. Marian Dingle says:

    I really never thought about it much before your tweet, but it makes so much sense. As teachers, we are most creative at home, and certainly not wearing shoes. I might just try this!

    • jenorr says:

      I hadn’t thought about it much before someone shared the research with me this summer. (I really wish I could remember who that was!) If you do try it out, let me know how it goes!

  2. Michael Honel says:

    Great idea! I love that you aren’t fearful of trying new things. My concern is, what will you do is there is a fire alarm?

    • jenorr says:

      I can pretty well predict when our fire drills will be (as we avoid lunch, which is a huge chunk of time, as well as Head Start kiddos napping) so I’m planning to have shoes on then. We’re also having conversations about what to do if the fire alarm goes off and we don’t have our shoes on. Interestingly enough, one of my kiddos asked me before taking off her shoes today, before any conversation about it, if I thought we’d have a fire drill. As it’s quite muddy out I felt confident we were in the clear.

  3. Tara says:

    I shared this widely in my office. I rarely wear shoes at work—and wore them so infrequently when I taught that when I did have them on, the kids asked me what was wrong. My mother could never keep shoes (or socks) on me when I growing up. I think some shoes are cute to look at, but I have loathed wearing them throughout my entire life. Maybe I’ve been on to something this whole time!

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