Student of the Week continues to be fun. I’m finding it’s a great way to build academic pride and classroom culture. It’s also a great way to delegate classroom responsibilities so I can focus on teaching.
One of the best features of Student of the Week is that the current SoW chooses the next. It’s not the teacher but rather a peer who chooses you. We’ve even constructed a funny “Peaceful Transfer of Power” ceremony every Friday where the Burger King crown is passed on to the lucky winner.
The crown is silly, yes, but because I make the SoW wear it in class, it becomes a badge of pride (even for seniors!). When you walk into my classroom, you know who’s the leader. It’s even possible that the crown promotes student engagement. Grades are one thing, the crown is another.
The Student of the Week also helps me delegate leadership in the classroom. Nobody wants the teacher to be the only person in charge. I’m figuring out ways to incorporate the SoW into classroom activities. So far, the SoW keeps time, sometimes passes out handouts, monitors student bathroom breaks, and watches for signs of the next SoW. Next steps might be to announce the agenda and the homework and perhaps even to do unofficial attendance. It would be nice if the responsibilities became more significant. The best classrooms are ones that manage themselves, and with the SoW, you have shared leadership that changes weekly that’s based on criteria of excellence.
Then there’s one more thing: All SoWs must post something on iseroma.com, my classroom website, about their tenure. Here’s an example from Esteffany, SoW #1.
Next Steps for SoW: How often a student can repeat as SoW? Can you win twice in a row? Twice in a quarter? Our class hasn’t talked about this question, but I think it’s understood that the point is to identify growth and to spread the award around. Still, I am hopeful that students will see that it’s possible that one student will win more often than others, and that it’s not a guarantee that you’ll earn the award. I don’t like fake awards (even if they’re silly).