In response to the post, “Morning Homework / Support Lab,” a reader writes:
“Cain pointed this out to me a while back, and I must admit I was embarrassed to have not seen it myself. It is so incredibly simple, yet profound. When you have a captive audience, make the most of it.
In order to make this work it seems to me you need two things. One, you need teachers willing to volunteer or you have to be willing to assign these morning sessions as duty. The problem with duty assignment is, as Covey says, people volunteer their best. Of course you could come up with some financial incentives, but that will run into your second need.
Second, you need people who are intrinsically motivated to work with kids. Paying teachers may get them there, but getting their hearts and minds is another issue (of course this is true during the instructional day too, so this may be a non-issue). It seems to me you would not get much at all from adults assigned to this as morning duty.
And I suppose we can top this off with a third issue: the leadership had best be there too. You can’t lead from the rear, so if you ask others to be out front, be prepared to be there yourself. I think Cain is on to a good idea here, but I am fishing for ways to effectively implement this. Anyone?”
Again, LYS readers, chime in if you have some ideas.
First, like we discussed, don’t beat yourself up because you can’t see everything. No one can, hence the value of fresh eyes and external support.
Second, I think you may be over-thinking this. There are a couple of obvious answers. You could just schedule it as duty. I think there are staffers who would volunteer to come in early if they could leave early. I know I would have. I think another option would be to use counselors, department chairs and AP’s. With extra pay comes extra responsibility. But what I would do is toss this project to my department chairs. Empower them to schedule it, staff it and make sure it runs smoothly. After all, student success in their core area is their responsibility. And, if they don’t think it is their responsibility, you need a new department chair.
Third, I don’t think that motivated adults is critical in the beginning. In fact I wouldn’t even worry about it. Just make sure they show up and there are kids who need support. As the students respond and improve, so will adult attitudes.
Third, you are absolutely right. Leadership has to take an active interest in monitoring and supporting this. If we don’t, things will quickly return to exactly what we have right now – nothing.
This is the time to set this up, with implementation no later than the than the 3rd day of school. Some of you may wonder, “Who needs support by the third day of school?” How about every student who failed a class last year, every new student to the school, and every student who forgot to do their homework the night before, just to begin.
Think. Work. Achieve.