We are the 99%. We are the 1%. We are the 53%. The Occupy Wall Street folks are all over the interwebs today- as they have been for a while now. Their point is an interesting one to debate- but it’s not the one I’m thinking about this morning. The number I’m thinking of is 90- as in 90%. That’s the percentage of American students who attend public schools. Nine out of 10.
So here’s what I think. I think that I can’t Occupy Wall Street right now. I think that most of the people I work with can’t either, because they’re busy in their classrooms working with the 90% (I also work with some excellent folks working with the 10% in private schools or those who are homeschooling, but the same principal applies generally- it’s hard to be an occupying force with 29 3rd graders in tow). But here’s the thing I think we can do.
We can Occupy Our Classrooms. Chad Hansing, the author of this idea, describes the idea this way:
“If you would occupy your statehouse to keep your job, pay, and benefits, please also consider occupying your classroom.
- Give your students at least a day a week to follow their passions.
- Get rid of your furniture. Help kids borrow, bring, or build their own.
- Get rid of your textbooks. Or redact them.
- Ask kids to make sense of the world as it happens across media and technologies.
- Build communities instead of reinforcing expectations.”
According to JOSÉ VILSON, Educator, Writer, and President of LANSU; Board of Directors, Center for Teaching Quality in Why Education Needs an Occupy the Classroom Revolution
“This is more than a call for reforming the way schools are funded. Teachers must develop their own expertise and take control of student learning.”
I love this idea with a fiery passion because not only does it allow us to make a stand without abandoning our posts, it allows us to do it while also serving our students well, by doing right by them educationally. It’s brilliant.
As you head in to the weekend, ponder this: What would happen if, on Monday morning, you chose to take back your classroom? What if you decided to put aside the mandated curriculum and the pacing charts? Not forever- I’m not that naive- but for the morning. Or the day. What if you took just a few moments and let your best professional self step forward, unbound and unafraid?
And if you’re already doing just these things- or something even better- take a moment to post it here. I did.