Hopefully in your personal life you have worked out what you want from your partner, family or friends. I am sure you have worked out what you want from your manager or the school you work at. Have you ever taken the time to ask your students what they want?
I have a wonderful exercise that I do with students. I divide the class into teams of 4 or 5. I give each team a large sheet of butchers paper and some colored markers. Then I ask them how their teachers can support them and help them achieve the results they want in their lives.
Teams have 20 minutes to discuss the question and brainstorm or list their answers. When they are complete. I give each team 3-5 minutes to discuss and pick their top 5 items from the list.
Each team then shares their results with the whole class.
I have asked this question of students for many years and almost without exception I have gotten the following items in many of the teams’ top 5 items:
- I want my teachers to know me by name.
- I want my teachers to listen to me.
- I want my teachers to respect me.
- I want my teachers to take me seriously.
I invite you to do this activity with your students to see what their answers are and how they align to my results.
As the principal of a school, why not try this activity with your staff. I would go so far as preparing your own personal and private list of things you expect to be on the top 5 list. See how well you know your team, or how well you think you know your team.
In the coming weeks – maybe even years – I will discuss the terms “listen to me”, “respect me” and “take me seriously”. These are vitally important concepts, that go the absolute heart of what it means to be a human being. You see if you are not listened to, respected or taken seriously, aren’t the people around you ignoring you?