After some colleagues observed my class, one sent me a link to a video called "I'm 17." Its a TED Talk (see below) given by a 17 year old. In it, the teen shares that it is difficult for students to feel heard by adults, but that is not how it should be.
I showed the video to my students today, and we engaged in a class long Coffee Talk. What I heard was interesting
-Students like having hard conversations via text because it allows more time to think out responses than a face-to-face does.
-Students do not feel heard by our campus leaders sometimes. And we have some great leaders.
-Students want to share their opinions with adults, but feel they are not heard.
-We say things to end conversations with students when we feel trapped, things like "I'm the adult." This hurts them. And they know what we are doing.
After letting them talk, I challenged them to not let our failings as adults stop them. I shared that sometimes our leaders may not respond because of the timing. Have a problem with the seating arrangements at the football game? Don't elaborately argue it right then and there. Set up a time to talk later. I suggested students develop a lesson for parents on the things we say that really hurts them and leads them to feel unheard. We are in the beginning stages of talking about designing classrooms and instruction (that unit comes next six weeks, but I want it to be big), and I want to invite teachers to observe their presentations and comment.
And maybe implement.
The most important thing I learned today was that yes, students have a voice. And we need to listen.
They might teach us a thing or two if we let them.