Monday, September 18, 2017

A Look at Leadership in the Middle School #EdChat

Moving to Middle School has been a fun adventure and I've had a chance to experience so many different things over the past two weeks. University Liggett School is filled with so many great programs and opportunities for students, it is hard to just focus on one, but here is one that really stands out to me from last week.

As a member of the 8th grade team, I helped organize the Leadership Days. Since this was my first year, I really just sat back and watched the amazing educators on the team whip everything together. I helped where I could and offered to run a Breakout Edu room for the students. It was a really amazing event and I just wanted to reflect on some of the things that stood out to me.

Reflection Time:

One of the things that I really loved was the built-in reflection time the students had after different aspects of the two days. After the Breakout, we made sure to use the discussion cards with the students and discuss what worked and what the obstacles where for them. In my room, the students started to give shoutouts to individual students who stepped up during the Breakout. They started the shoutouts on their own and it just made me smile to see the smiles on the students who were surprised to receive recognition for their help.

We also had time to reflect on the community service projects as well. We sanded and painted two sets of bleachers at a local park. It was a messy couple of days, but we were able to get the job done. We had a good conversation about work ethic, leading by doing, and the value of community service as a leader. It is important for students to know that as members of a community, it is crucial to be an active participant in keeping it nice for everyone. Donating time to make a difference in the community is a great way to show leadership. Students were able to make these, and other, observations when we gave them time to do so.

Lower School Connections:

Another aspect of our Leadership Days was connecting with the Lower School and doing some reading. It is a very simple thing to do that the young students loved and will remember. Having students model reading to young students and making connections is a powerful thing. Watching students smile as students gave them hugs of thanks was wonderful. The 8th graders even had a chance to see what it is like to try and keep a young student engaged for a short period of time. One students had to pull a little one out of a tree! Don't worry, everyone made it back in one piece and 8th graders and younger students walked away with some wonderful memories.

Upper School Connections:

During dinner on the first night, a few Upper School students stopped by to answer questions about what life is like after 8th grade. It was cool to see these students share their tips on homework, procrastination, and overall high school life with the 8th graders. As the 8th graders acted as role models for the Lower School students, the Upper School students had a chance to show the 8th graders what leadership looks like after Middle School. I loved seeing how the cycle of leadership is present from Kindergarten to 12th Grade.

Fun:

I wanted to end with this because I think it is so important. Being a leader is so much more than just hard work and tough decisions. You can be a leader and have fun too! We had some great team building games, played hide and seek in the school, roasted marshmallows, and just played on the playscape. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Giving students the opportunity to have some fun, be a little silly, and create memories is part of growing up and becoming the person you want to be. Leadership is just one aspect of that.

It was a great couple of days and I can't wait to debrief as a staff and see how we can continue to support the students and make an even better event for next year.