Trying to push your students to get to the next level is often really difficult. Especially when they're your babies and they're now in 10th grade and no longer in your class, so you don't have the daily influence like you used to. For my Live Poets, it became incredibly clear to me that they need a push when we were planning our first fundraiser of the year. They were like: "We're doing a bake sale, next Wednesday, we'll all bring stuff -- break!" and they ran out of the huddle like Tate Forcier - a little too quickly. I decided to deliberately sit back, watch and see what happened. Ooooh, it was painful for me, a self-confessed control freak, to not remind them and call home to tell their parents about it and bake 5 batches of brownies to help the bake sale happen. I made a conscious decision this year that THEY are going to step up the responsibility level. Sometimes they need to watch it fail in order to realize how to make it succeed.
So, the day came and no one remembered to bring in their baked goods. Masters of the last-minute switch-up, they were prepared to run to the grocery store, buy myriad Entemann's cakes and call it a bake sale. I pulled them all together and met with them instead. I pretended to be very upset, but I think they saw my smile, and they knew it was an opportunity for me to get up on my soapbox. But I surprised them again. They're used to being yelled at outside of school when they make a mistake and all of the calm that I bring does not undo the rest of their lives.
(stepping up onto the imaginary soapbox)
"Guys, what happened?"
"We forgot. We're so sorry, Lauren."
"Don't apologize to me. Talk to me about what you'll do next time so this doesn't happen again."
"Well, we need to each know what everybody is bringing in, and we need to remind each other."
Thing 1: "I'm making brownies."
Jazzy: "I can't bake, so I'll help with advertisements."
Lechuga: "Me too!"
Eazy E: "I'll make the signs... it should have the new logo on it."
Yung LA: "Yo, cake. White cake, chocolate frosting. Tell my dad, will you? He won't believe that I have to bake a cake for school."
Jay-Arr: "Cookies... chocolate chip. They're my mom's favorite."
Jazzy: "Can you make that red velvet cake?"
Me: "Sure. I'll also get change for the customers... what else?"
Princess P: "Mami and I will buy some of those Entemann's cakes, everyone loved those last time and they're a good profit."
O.J.: "What can I do? Can we do a push-up contest to attract attention?!? I got this!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!"
Jazzy: "Spread the word. Maybe we can all put it on our away msgs a few days before, to let everyone know, plus posters and signs."
Yung LA: "I'll tell the Prez and P will tell Mami about it. "
Princess P: "What about drinks? Oh and plates and stuff?"
Me: "I have plates, napkins, silverware... maybe the Prez can bring drinks?"
O.J.: "I'll ask him on aim tonight."
Me: "Okay, so we got this. Next Thursday. Oh, who's gonna fill out the fundraising request?"
Jay-Arr: "I gotchu, Lauren."
It was only after this conversation took place and the REAL bake sale got planned that I gave them their University of Michigan Education hats. They were wilin, and every single one of them wore them to school the next day. When asked if they wanted to go back to Detroit the next year, or go somewhere else, because the AMC has been moved, they didn't even flinch. "Um, we have to see grandma! And we never saw Ann Arbor, and where you live, so we gotta go back."
"So, let's do this."
Break huddle. Spread offense. We got this.