This week the task was assigned to “Joey” and he shows up late for school almost daily. So, the job has been passed off to random students each day. This has slowed our start each morning because it takes us a minute to realize it is not being done.
This morning as I was getting ready, I decided to pass out the wipes myself since “Joey” would probably not show up on time. I noted how much faster I got it done… probably less than 30 seconds. My students often take 5 minutes to accomplish this task. They have trouble getting a wipe out, they drop the tub, they get distracted, they lose their place, they miss someone and an argument starts.
For a moment, I considered taking over this daily job. It would save me time and, honestly, some stress. But then I catch myself. A major temptation I have to resist as a teacher is to do things for the students that they have the ability to do for themselves. I have to regularly make peace with the reality that they will do a job slowly, messily, poorly.
I can add a lot of efficiency to my day by having students do very little. If I do it for them, it gets done quick, clean, and without drama.
But then they experience nothing.
So, I remind myself – let them cut out the circles… badly. Let them move the items… and knock half of them over. Have them pass out the papers… and be painfully slow doing it.
Efficiency seems ideal in the moment but kids need the inefficiency of experience if they are going to grow.