Small Steps Matter | Hooray For Monday

Hooray for Monday is a weekly blog filled with questions, ideas, reflections, and actions we can all take to remodel the school experience for students. Prefer audio? Listen to the Hooray For Monday podcast! Available on your favorite platforms here.

January 8, 2024

By Aleta Margolis, Founder and President

I received a response to one of our year-end mailings that said “‘Student-Led’ teaching? What? Excuse me? Unsubscribed from this nonsense!”

I didn’t recognize the name of the sender, but he was responding to an email describing student-led, respectful discourse around challenging topics.

While I’m sorry to lose a member of the Inspired Teaching community, and even more sorry for his students, I’m grateful for the reminder his email offered:

The work we do – offering students the opportunity to lead in the classroom – is not the norm.

And we have much more work ahead of us to change that norm.

The work ahead is significant, and can seem daunting. But small steps matter, a lot.

  • When a teacher chooses to step back and let a child puzzle through a math problem, instead of stepping in and solving it for him…what happens to that child’s confidence as a learner?
  • When a teacher asks a student why she cursed in class instead of defaulting to punishment…what does the child learn about how to navigate conflict productively?
  • When a teacher invites students to make choices, about where to sit, or which novel to read, or which political events to discuss in social studies class…what happens to the students’ level of engagement in the learning process?

When each of you takes a small step toward putting students in charge, it sets in motion changes in the moment, and into the future.

That small email was a big reminder to me – that our work at Inspired Teaching is important in disrupting the adult-centered schooling that persists in many places. As we begin 2024 and make resolutions large and small, it’s a great time to remember that small steps matter a lot.

Wishing you a week ahead in which you take one, or two, or even more steps toward the change we are all striving to make.

For additional insights, resources, and information on Inspired Teaching teacher and youth programming, subscribe to the Hooray For Monday newsletter!

Hooray For Monday is an award-winning weekly publication by Center for Inspired Teaching, an independent nonprofit organization that invests in and supports teachers. Inspired Teaching provides transformative, improvisation-based professional learning for teachers that is 100% engaging – intellectually, emotionally, and physically. Our mission is to create radical change in the school experience – away from compliance and toward authentic engagement.

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