The Sort-of-Scientific Method

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Sep 19 2012

Own It

Day 11: If I had to pick one mantra that has defined my last two weeks, it would be this: “Own It.” By “Own It,” I mean that if you go with it in class, if you are 100 percent committed, and if you show no doubt, kids will do nearly anything.

Today was a prime example of my new charge to “Own It.” “Work Hard. Get Smart.” is on a giant banner at the front of my room. For two weeks now, I’ve been toying with making that phrase a chant. As in, I say “Work Hard” you say “Get Smart.” And, if I’m being honest, for two weeks, I’ve been a little skeptical of how it was going to fly.

When the time came, I kept repeating my students, “Oh man, you are going to love this.” What I meant was, “If I keep saying this, maybe I’ll believe it. Either way, I’m putting it off for another five seconds each time.”

Finally … I yelled out, “Work Hard.” 24 kids shouted back at me “Get Smart.” I repeated myself louder. They responded louder. The third time, I nearly screamed: “WORK HARD!!!” My kids responded with volume and enthusiasm: “GET SMART!!!”

I don’t know what I’m so worried about. Every time I “own it,” my kids end up “owning it” even more.

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Experimental Procedures of a Second-Year Teacher

Greater Boston
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