Monday, August 13, 2012
My school worked on its mission statement this past spring. I'll be honest: I can't tell you what we wrote. Like most committee writing, it is a complex sentence with a lot of big education words because we don't want to leave anything out.
Yesterday, I was doing some online shopping and I found the mission statement for the company. As mission statements go, it was well written -- a short list of the purpose of the company.
My brain must have been secretly working on my own mission statement, because suddenly it was clear to me what I am trying to do as a teacher.
I want my students to become independent.
When I think about my job through the lens of this statement, my tasks become clear. I am giving students the skills and the knowledge to engage productively in the economic and government systems we have in our country. I want them to find meaningful relationships and work. I want them to be law-abiding so they may enjoy the freedoms we have in this country.
On a day to day basis, I can make decisions about how I run my classroom based on the idea that I want my students to become increasingly independent. I don't need to take responsibility for class materials and assignments. I need to give them the tools to take responsibility for themselves.
I don't know why after 21 classrooms, this suddenly made sense to me. I have plans for class 22.