Saturday, April 26, 2014

Who Can You Get to Help? The Art of Delegation

Some teachers are masters of delegation. They take simple classroom jobs and delegate to students. These teachers realize two important concepts:
    Delegation
  1. A teacher cannot do it all. When we delegate those things which a student can do we create more time for that which requires our expertise. 
  2. Allowing students to help with running the classroom gives them a "stake in the program," gives them a sense of ownership, and builds responsibility. 
What is it you find yourself doing that your students could do every bit as well as you? In Organization Made Easy!: Tools for Today’s Teachers, we examine this idea. We all have those morning “routines” for getting the day started. We also have chores to perform that end the day and get the classroom ready for tomorrow. Have you ever stopped to list them all? Once you do, you begin to realize why you are so tired and feel like you are falling further behind.

We can lower our level of stress, stay on top of our game, and help build responsibility in our students, all at the same time. Let 2014 be the year you change all of that. Take the time to list the tasks. Then structure a system whereby ever student has a job, even a small job. Yes, you will spend a little time teaching what needs to be done, but the rewards quickly become evident.

A dear friend and master 1st grade teacher called her system “Adopted Areas.” Imagine with 3 minutes to go before the bell to end the school day, this teacher standing before her class and saying, “Students, it’s time for our Adopted Areas. Let’s take 2 minutes and then be back in your seat. Ready? Go.” Imagine her standing calmly as 20 students each begin rearranging books, straightening the reading area, cleaning the board, and a host of other duties. Two minutes later, 20 students are in their seats, looking at their teacher, waiting to be dismissed. As the students leave, this teacher is smiling, knowing that 20 jobs were done that she did not have to do, all because she was organized enough to use her students as helpers.

“Adopted Areas” are not only for young students. In every high school, the laptop and projector must be turned on in the morning and shut down in the afternoon. Chairs and bookshelves straightened. Homerooms are used to distribute various flyers. During the day, we collect and distribute papers. Why do all of that ourselves?

We can lower our level of stress, stay on top of our game, and help build responsibility in our students, all at the same time. Why not give it a try?

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