Reasons I Am Awesome, #2

I’m lazy.

That may not seem like a reason someone would be awesome. It does feel counter-intuitive. However, there are definitely ways in which my laziness makes me a better teacher.

One of those ways is that I don’t want to do anything the kids can do for themselves. This has been true when I taught 5th graders and when I taught kindergartners. It’s their class and their space and they should own it. Plus, there’s plenty for me to do that they can’t, so there’s no reason why I should take on any tasks they can do!

I don’t use our overhead lights. Instead, I have a floor lamp in every corner and a couple of ropes of lights above my bulletin board and whiteboard. In each corner there’s a power strip for the lights. When the kids arrive in the morning, they turn them all on. They unstack chairs as they get ready for breakfast.

Every student has a job they applied for in the first month of school. They’ll have these jobs for the first quarter and then they’ll apply again for new ones. So they wash tables, sweep, stack chairs at the end of the day, keep our library organized, turn off the lights before they leave, organize all our materials (pens, crayons, scissors, glue, etc.), deliver our library books, return our breakfast coolers, take care of our Wednesday folders (folders with information from the school or classroom that go home every week), and tell me who is absent so I can take attendance. They run our classroom.

We also have jobs that change every day. Some are typical elementary school jobs: line leader and door holder. Jobs they love so they get to do them about once a month. Other jobs are less typical.

Our meeting manager runs the morning meeting. They choose the greeting, pick kids who want to share, choose our activity, and lead the reading of the morning message. I participate (most days) but they are in charge. Our personal trainer chooses which GoNoodle activities we do after lunch. I picked for the first few weeks so that we were familiar with a lot of different ones but now they choose.

Soon we’ll start the tweeter job (I’ve had trouble this year getting all the little things to fit into our schedule and this is one that isn’t a routine yet, sadly). At the end of the day someone will compose a tweet about our day. If we have time, others can add tweets or send tweets to authors we love. I’m not sure calendar is going to happen this year so that job may not exist. Photographer will depend on whether or not our class cameras are still in decent shape. In the past that was one student’s job for the day. They wore the camera on a lanyard around their neck and took pictures all day. They capture pictures that would never cross my mind.

As Gary Stager frequently reminds me, “Less us, more them.” He’s thinking far more broadly than I’ve discussed here, but the idea fits.

One reply

  1. Charlene O'Brien says:

    I’m enjoying this series and it’s making me think about my own practice with student teachers. I used to start every year letting my elementary students know, my work is to teach them how to do things by themselves. Now, I’m figuring out how to have this same mantra with adults who are learning. Maybe, I need a little more of “what Gary said…”

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