19 tally marks in my notebook.
That’s the number of times the word “management / managing” was used in a 30 minute meeting to describe a student of concern.
I rushed to my desk with angry tears and clamored to pull up Rita Pierson’s, “Every kid needs a champion“. This is my strategy for dealing with the silenced rebel in my head; assurance that my thoughts and perspective is not unique. I am not alone.
After Rita, I looked up the definition of management.
The process of dealing with or controlling things or people. Synonyms: dominate, maintain, regulate, oversee, handle.
Call me crazy, but none of those words would be my choice to associate with students, learners or education. Certainly not words I would associate with agency in the context of learning.
Sometimes I just wish I could scream in frustration at the irony seeping through disguised as “here for the kids”, and “in (insert student name)’s best interest”.
What if instead of “managing students” we shifted our mindset to “advocating for learners”?
What if we advocated for our learner’s roles, rights and responsibilities instead of trying to “manage” them?
What if we focused our energy on insisting our “problem” students become the best they can be?
They can be.
Not what we can (choose management synonym: dominate, maintain, regulate, oversee, handle) them to be.
Some learners will not fit our predetermined mold or our idea of a “traditional student”.
What if instead of trying to control them to fit our boxes, labels and expectations- we advocated for them to be…. them.
The best version they can be- of them.