Sometimes our best moments come from “winging” it. This is another example.
We follow the Covey Model at our school. It makes sense for our demographic. What I mean is we focus on student leadership and making good choices. We feel there are no bad kids, just good kids making bad choices because of external factors unbeknownst to us. Parental fights, lack of sleep, no food for breakfast, loud bus ride etc. Those variables that make us ‘tick’.
Long story short, our school year began as always with students delivering the morning announcements over the PA system. Now we had had issues with O Canada back in the spring with respect to the CD player and the PA system not agreeing on working together but seemed to forget about it in August. When September came in with a bang, we soon remembered that perhaps O Canada is now meant to be played from an iDevice instead of a CD.
Let me rewind a few months. After about the third week of September I was losing my mind with the regular routine of technical difficulties of our anthem not playing – just because of my technical nature. After all, we are about leadership so we let our PA system team struggle and fail for a month and anticipated them seeking assistance. They never did – and I applaud them for that. They persevered and were determined to find a solution. Kudos!
And that they did.
I teach rotary phys ed and the gym is near the front office. Let me remind you it is still the end of September here. It was a Tuesday morning – I know this because I had 7/8 Wilson involved in a heated indoor soccer match (rainy, wet grass outside).
One of my students, Kishi, began singing the national anthem by himself in the middle of the gym after the fail of the CD one more time. And he nailed it. He actually ended up singing about three days in a row in various classes as the CD player routinely did not cooperate.
Problem solved. Within the week we had Kishi singing O Canada live on the PA. He was a star. Now this cult following of our newly found rock star blew up. Within the week other boys from his grade 7/8 class had joined the band. We had a duet, then a trio, and then a miraculous boy band belting out our anthem in pure harmony – live on the PA.
It has been two full months now since Kishi set the bar. About 40 school days. In this time we have yet to have a repeat singer. EVERYDAY a new singer from all grades, singing O Canada proudly on the PA. Makes me smile every time. Same with our visitors.
“Is this live?” they always ask. Yes, yes it is.
How cool is that!
What is even cooler is the suspense of “who is it today?” as we near the 10:55 announcement time. Lets be honest, for the first time, ALL students are listening to the announcements and no teacher is “ssshhhh’ing” them (and the hats come off!).
When I step back to look at the big picture here, I applaud our team of staff for empowering our students. It’s not about picking a student to sing live on the PA – Its about letting students take risks and fail – and then solve their own problem. Our rotating group of rock star singers would never have happened without the cultural shift in our building. Kishi would never have taken the risk to sing live back in September and create this movement without the freedom to do so.
This 21st century teaching thing – its not about the technology. Its a grassroots movement bigger than the day to day tools.