Day 150, Friday, May 22, 2009
Today, for the first time this year, I completely trusted the scholars to make good use of their time without my supervision, and they didn’t disappoint me. On this pleasant spring day, I wanted to rehearse with individual 9th graders for an upcoming event, so I told the class to go outside, stay fairly close to the classroom, do some reading or writing, and I would call them individually for rehearsal. This was the kind of trust that would be impossible in a larger school, where rules are stringent about scholars always being under the supervision of a teacher. In my small, sociable school, however, we feel more able to allow the students to work individually or in small groups without a teacher always lingering nearby. As I rehearsed with individual scholars, I occasionally heard sounds from those who were outside – scraps of quiet conversation floating in, plus an occasional flare-up of laughter. I accomplished much in my rehearsals with students, and I trust that the kids outside realized some accomplishments also. Did they complete as much “school work” as they might have if I had been standing beside them in my typical managerial role? Probably not – but I’m betting they appreciated my trust and made a good effort to prove worthy of it. They may not have made much of a dent in the English class curriculum, but they probably did learn that being trusted brings a feeling of self-worth – and, if so, that’s a lesson I’m proud to have taught them.