Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Own your class

The rapidly approaching school year prompts us all to do some last minute reflection about the upcoming year.  Here is one of the tips I have reflected upon recently.  It is good advice for new and returning teachers.

Own your class.

What does that mean?

Owning is personal.  Owning is passionate.  Owning empowers you.  Owning your class transforms your work into your cause.

When we borrow something, we are careful to give it back in the same or better condition.  When we own something, it quickly becomes a part of us.

For example:

If you rent a car, it is expected to be returned in the same condition (with even the same amount of gas in the tank).

Buy a car?  What happens?  Bumper stickers, radio presets, empty cans, change under the seats, etc.

It becomes yours.

Rent a tuxedo?  You better count the cuff links before returning.  Buy a tuxedo?  Use any links you like.

In your class, the same idea applies. 

Own your class.  Show up ready to put your own innovative twist on an old idea.

You may respond with, “But Troy, my administrator/district/state requires I do ‘X.’  How do I own that?”

I say, “Ok, do ‘X’, but do it in a way that is yours.  I have to wear a tie, but it doesn’t have to be blue everyday.”

To paraphrase one of my favorite leadership maxims, “Own your class or it will own you.”  You are the leader in that room.  If you feel as if you cannot direct the course, you may have allowed yourself to give it away.  The good news is that tomorrow, you can get it back... if you want to.

Some don’t want to own their class because having someone (or something) own it is easy.  It provides an excuse for mediocrity.  It feels safe.

But it isn’t safe.

Mediocrity has no place anymore when it comes to anything that matters.

Education matters.  School matters.  Excellence matters.

Own your class.

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