‘Miss I can’t lead the warm up… I don’t want to... they don’t listen…’ these are just a couple of examples of things I have heard whenever I have asked girls to lead warm up. At the start of the year, these were standard excuses which I accepted. In retrospect, I had not yet developed strategies to empower the students. I didn't know how to.
Around December time, something changed, I was no longer accepting this mediocrity. Instead, started to go through my register; let students know a week in advance that they will be delivering a short quick warm up the next week. Eventually I found that the students were suddenly motivated and looked forward to display their leadership skills, because of self-gratification that came with being empowered. To be pushed out of their comfort zones. To be praised. To achieve. To feel good!
The Year 9 girls at the 3v3 Basketball initiative launch at Nottingham Wildcats Arena. This was a great event!
Giving away my authority has been a challenge in itself. I know as teachers we love the control however, we need to recognise that control does not mean that the students are learning more. When giving away the control, it allows students to learn important life skills in a somewhat safe environment. Yes Jane did the warm up, not everyone listened to her but she persevered with it and towards the end, she had developed strategies which made everyone listened. She was able to make responsible decision making by not ‘doing it because everyone will not listen’. To step back and watch the growth, for me, that is a great win.
As a PE teacher I find empowering students is controllable. I recently trialled the Sport Education strategy. I start with different roles such as kit manager, warm up coach, referee and skill coaches and this worked brilliantly. The students were able to showcase their abilities as leaders and they fully immersed themselves within their roles. In fact, I even had one student who came up to me to tell me how one of their team members were not taking their role seriously.
To conclude, teachers need to provide students the structure they need to thrive and grow socially as well as emotionally and allow them to be self-aware of their strengths and weaknesses. Because once they are aware of this, real work can begin to on that journey of empowerment rather than overpowering students.
Just a quick update, I have secured a new job which I start after Easter. In the last three weeks of my latest post and I am really enjoying the environments and atmosphere of the school. The Year 7 girls won the Nottinghamshire Schools Futsal Tournament and the Year 9 girls have just attended England Basketball 3v3 launch event which was great to see on International Women’s Day. Oh and my tutor won the best tutor last half term. #ItIsTheLittleThingsInLife