I've been with IowaSLI from early on, and IowaSLI has helped me to understand my true passion; my passion for amplifying student voice in the classroom. Through IowaSLI I have been able to connect with other educators around Iowa who get it. Educators that realize that the education we give our students pales in comparison to learning they do. But, something happened this week that clearly explained the importance of our students voice in action.
I teach at the middle school. Friday, two of my former students came to visit, and they brought cookies. We had a brief conversation, and then one of the students said, "Mr. Barner, I'm going."
I said, "Going to what?"
She looks at me and said, "I'm going to RISE."
We connected in a new way. That connection that I had experienced with other educators around the state, I was now able to have with my students. The common language shared with those educators, I could now share with this student. Now, both the "educator" and the "educated" can realize the importance of student voice, agency, and action in the learning process that happens in the classroom.
(Last part, I promise.) I was working through these new experiences, and I wanted to find the next step. So, in a conversation with another educator bringing students to RISE, we had the idea to arrive at Waukee High School early. We wanted to introduce our burgeoning student leaders, and encourage these students to connect in the same manner the teachers had. And, then I realized why students should come to RISE.
So, everything that I have said before this is not important, but this is. The reason students should come to RISE is to meet and connect with the students there. These students are our future leaders. These students don't see a Saturday morning as a deterrent from becoming better. These students need to connect in a way that proves they are not alone, and gives them the resources and encouragement to not give up. These students will shape the future of education in Iowa. Encourage your students to RISE.
Your thoughts are welcomed and encouraged,