Monday, August 13, 2012

Becoming Independent

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.

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