Sharing Question: Delegating Responsibility

A principal in my current course on “Creating a Professional Learning Community” reminds me that in working to implement effective Professional Learning Communities in the full school, that in having discussions with his school leadership team and literacy and math school leaders, that these time consuming discussions cut in to the precious time needed for all the other work demands. The principal plans to use the Gradual Release of Responsibility concept to move educational leadership to others on the staff, a great goal.  Different teachers at different times of their lives are happy to pick up extra responsibilities. Regarding the administrator time burden, I’ve seen a school leader pass certain responsibilities off to another who can capably pick up time consuming jobs.

Similarly, I’ve seen teachers delegate to students responsibilities that ease the burden on teachers.  One elementary science teacher had an assistant, who wore a lab coat.  However, she simply selected a different student each day to have this job.  Each student selected was delighted to put on that small size lab coat and help out running the class that day, stepped up to the responsibility.  Other teachers have a reliable student take attendance.  One excellent middle school teacher frequently used powerpoint presentations to focus his lively class; he had one student in charge of running the powerpoint for the class; this could rotate.  By giving a student — and especially an otherwise too “lively” student a class task — this helps the teacher and also provides the student with something responsible to do with that extra energy. I would often have a student write on the board in our class discussions, to maintain the pace of the discussion, and also because my handwriting wasn’t always all that legible.  Another “trick” is to have a student who’s especially tech savvy to be the helper person for a class in a computer lab or with bringing tablets or chromebooks into the classroom.  In observing a math consultant work with an inclusion class, I saw the consultant be very strict with a too lively young man, but then when the consultant was using motion learning activities to help with math concepts, he asked this lively student to lead the class, which the child easily, capably  did, and glowed with pride doing it.

Please scroll down to comment with any other “jobs” a student could do, for the teacher to delegate responsibility that frees up the over-burdened teacher.

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