Teachers for Teachers | Slice of Life: Developing a Sense of Agency
3953
post-template-default,single,single-post,postid-3953,single-format-standard,ajax_updown,page_not_loaded,,vertical_menu_enabled,qode-title-hidden,side_area_uncovered_from_content,qode-theme-ver-13.1.2,qode-theme-bridge,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-5.4.5,vc_responsive

Slice of Life: Developing a Sense of Agency

11454297503_e27946e4ff_h

Why does doing the dishes here feel so different from doing the dishes at home?

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

We ask this question each year we vacation in Canada.  We visit friends who have cabins on the Georgian Bay.  These cabins do not have electricity or running water.  There are often 20 people visiting.  There are a lot of dishes.  At home, I would see that pile and dread the task at hand – even with a dishwasher.  In Canada my disposition is completely different.

We begin by pumping the water into huge teakettles to boil.  We then fill two tubs with boiling water – one for soapy water and one for clean water to rinse.  Thick rubber gloves are used to protect our hands from the scalding water.  Then the procedure begins.

Glasses first, then silverware is placed in the bottom of the soapy bin to soak, plates are next, followed by pots and pans.  The silverware is scrubbed last.  All is set out to dry overnight.  The tubs are rinsed out, counters wiped down and gloves are hung on the clothesline to dry.  All this is done by candlelight.

It takes longer.  It is more work.  It is a complete pleasure.  There is something about slowing down, knowing the steps of the process and experiencing the results of your work that is so satisfying.  It is simple, yet rewarding.  The time is often spent thinking, reflecting or planning.  When your hands know just what to do, our minds can take over with thought.

It makes me think about our classrooms.  Do we set aside enough time to ensure our students know the systems, procedures and processes of our classrooms?  Do they have time to understand and feel confident enough to derive pleasure from the work to be done?  Do we have community jobs for our students to do?  Do we rush through these jobs or do we give our students time to slow down and experience the results of their work?  Do they have time to think, reflect and plan?

Being a member of a group or community is more than showing up – each member needs to contribute.  When we contribute the culture of collaboration and cooperation is brought to life.  We all need to have a sense of agency in order to learn and achieve goals.  This sense of agency can begin with being a contributing member of a classroom community.  Once students understand that if they act strategically they can accomplish their goals, then they can transfer this disposition to their learning.

How will you use these first weeks of school to create a community?  How will your students contribute and a develop a sense of agency?

        Clare

 

 

 

12 Comments
  • Avatar
    Jennifer Laffin
    Posted at 10:16h, 06 September Reply

    I think that each students’ contributions to our classroom community is what makes us feel like a family when we are together at school. Everyone has something to add, something they can do, to benefit all of us. Thank you for your wise words, Clare!

    • Clare and Tammy
      Clare and Tammy
      Posted at 21:00h, 06 September Reply

      Thank you for sharing your reflections — everyone does have something to add! How important is that to agency??!!
      Clare

  • Avatar
    Rose
    Posted at 10:54h, 06 September Reply

    Love this line: Being a member of a group or community is more than showing up – each member needs to contribute.
    Wise words to remember for anyone who is part of a group – family, school, community. Thanks, and have a great school year!

    • Clare and Tammy
      Clare and Tammy
      Posted at 20:59h, 06 September Reply

      Family is so important –in the rush of daily life these days it is important to remember a family is also a community.
      Thanks

      Clare and Tammy

  • Avatar
    Karen Szymusiak
    Posted at 15:28h, 06 September Reply

    Love your post, Clare. I love the sense of community you have shared. The parallels to the classroom are so true. We have a group of kids who come together each year who’s contributions define a year of learning together.

    • Clare and Tammy
      Clare and Tammy
      Posted at 20:58h, 06 September Reply

      Thanks Karen — I look forward to connecting with you each week!!
      Clare

  • Avatar
    Joan
    Posted at 17:09h, 06 September Reply

    What a powerful post! By creating systems for students where their ‘hands and bodies know what to do’ and allowing the time to practice those systems, it truly does open the door for the student’s minds to be open to thought!

    I must say I have never approached the class jobs with this mindset, but will certainly this year as I can see how this simple form of participation can enhance our community and spill over into creating agency in their learning! Thanks girls!!!

    • Clare and Tammy
      Clare and Tammy
      Posted at 20:58h, 06 September Reply

      Thanks Joan!! We love how you connected it to mindset — so smart. Can’t wait to hear what you try in the classroom this year.
      Clare and Tammy

  • Avatar
    Linda Baie
    Posted at 20:08h, 06 September Reply

    Such nice lessons from the old-time dishwashing! I often do the dishes anymore. With just one person & if I haven’t cooked much of it, it does slow me down, give me time to think of other times in the kitchen, etc. I love hearing about your cabins. We had a cabin in the mountains so similar, & loved the time by candlelight or oil lamp, finishing the meal, cleaning up, playing games. Good times, just as the process chores could be good times in class too. Thanks, & welcome back!

    • Clare and Tammy
      Clare and Tammy
      Posted at 20:57h, 06 September Reply

      Thanks Linda — it is good to be back!!! Looking forward to reconnecting with everyone.

      Clare and Tammy

  • Avatar
    Tara
    Posted at 21:08h, 06 September Reply

    Love this post, and the comparisons you draw – community and contributions make a classroom life so joyous. Glad that you enjoyed your summer, and good to slice with you again!

  • Avatar
    Carrie Gelson
    Posted at 13:45h, 08 September Reply

    I feel so blessed to know such smart people! What a pleasure to learn so much from a beautifully crafted piece. I am going to return to this blog later today and look at those questions again.

Post A Comment

Verification *