Over the last several years, I’ve developed a keen interest in the sort of role reversal that places kids at the helm of professional development experiences. Fifteen years ago, I don’t know that I would have been comfortable accepting my students as my teachers. Of course, this was prior to parenting two kids of my own. Now, I find it profoundly humorous that I ever thought I had a choice.
Today, I watched my own 8 year old and 11 year old train three seasoned teachers around the basics of blogging. It unfolded rather informally, but in the end, I said and did very little. The kids took the reigns with confidence, and the teachers happily owned the fact that they could not distinguish a post from a page, let alone decipher a widget. At one point, the word “dashboard” was thrown around, and I must admit, I admired the gentle way in which Laura talked everyone down off the ledge that they had themselves perched on. I’ve forgotten how overwhelming it can be to start a new blog. Laura hasn’t. This is a good thing.
Ironically, when placed in such a position of responsibility, the “students” involved in this little experiment exhibited a bit of a shift in demeanor. Prior to being called into service, one was experiencing a bit of the sillies and the other was experiencing a bit of the resistance. I say this nicely because this is a professional blog and swearing is probably not allowed. Anyway, as they began working with the teachers, a transformation occurred. For a short moment, they were treated as tiny experts in something valuable, and they behaved like experts in response. This was………….very cool.
So, I’ve learned something important: I must invite these teachers to my home! I’m thinking that they can hang out with my kids at bedtime each night or at that precise moment in every day when I remind my them that there are chores to do.
It is SO TOTALLY WORTH CONSIDERING.
We tried to get our two music students who basically run the auditorium (only one of the music staff members knows how to do most of it). The question was whether they’d allow a student to run a PD session, and still have it apply for Act 48 credits. (which is apparently a bigger deal for our district than normal).
I’m thinking that in a traditional PD setting, it might present a challenge here as well. I have to admit, as a staff developer, this has had a very different (and somewhat uncomfortable) feel…but the teachers involved have really enjoyed learning this way, and it has added a whole new dimension to the kids’ experience as well…they take their work very seriously.