Empowering Students in the Day-To-Day Operations of Our Schools

The word “technology” was in my title for a large part of my career as a teacher, with the hopes that I would work with colleagues on finding meaningful ways to implement technology within the curriculum. Yet, simply having “technology” in my title meant to many others on my staff that I could and should fix anything that was technology related in the school. Literally. Anything that had electricity was fair game. I hated it.

One day, I was asked to fix something in a classroom and I was busy working with students so I asked some of my tech-savvy students to go and check in and help the teacher that was asking for help. While I was annoyed with the request, to be honest, my students were excited with the opportunity. They went to the teacher’s classroom immediately, helped them out, and came back and asked if they could do that again in the future.

LIGHT BULB MOMENT!

From then on, they became the student tech team and all requests went their way to help teachers with technology issues in the school. I was a last resort if the students were stuck, yet they never asked me for help. It was beautiful.

So many schools do things similar to this today, and I think it goes beyond taking something off of a teacher’s plate. It is about giving students ownership over the building. Do you remember when students used to pop keys off the keyboard? That ended altogether in our school because students would stop each other because they knew they would have to fix it eventually. Through the process of empowering students in the day-to-day dealings of a school, I unintentionally created a situation where students took more pride in their school because it became “theirs” through the process. They felt valued because they were given ownership over important aspects of the operations of the school.

Making sure that a) students feel that they are valued and needed for school and b) have true ownership, is something that is beneficial to students as individuals and the school community as a whole.

How do you give students ownership over your school community?

Source: George Couros