“Mommy, mommy, today was the best day in the world!” exclaimed my seven year-old daughter, raging with glee.
“Really, why is that?” I inquired, intrigued by her overwhelming enthusiasm.
“I was chosen to be Class Messenger all day.” She replied briskly as if I’d been living under a rock and should’ve intuited this from the get-go.
During the rest of the car ride home, I tirelessly interrogated her and her older sister, also a veteran Class Messenger, in an effort to learn all about the tasks and responsibilities inherent in this job —(maybe I can replicate it at home!) I wanted to learn why it was so darn appealing and, such a coveted position amongst most students —according to the reliable sources in my SUV.
Right off the bat, they bragged that one scores this post via good classroom behavior and, only after having earned the teacher’s trust. The job description entails: running errands for the teacher and classroom-at-large, being on-call all day, and being sent off on a “mission” at a moment’s notice. My two little nerds also divulged that the best part is that the Messenger gets to choose a buddy to accompany her on journeys throughout the day. Additionally, no specified time limit is given to complete each job. She can take as much time as needed to resolve the issue at hand –within reason.
The spontaneity factor resonates with my girls and, I’m willing to bet many other students as well. Regardless of what the rest of the class is doing, the Messenger must disengage herself instantly and fulfil the teacher’s order.
I took mental note of the Class Messenger duties:
1. Unmonitored recon trips, aka, “time to wander”
2. Buddy time, aka, “QT with a friend”
3. Delivering and retrieving “stuff,” aka, privy to confidential information
4. Empowerment gained through obtaining instructor’s confidence.
(I’m confused. She enjoys the same “employment status” at home–with similar perks --and she does not glamorize it. In fact, it annoys her when I abrupt her playtime or study time and send her off on one of Mommy’s assignments. Despite rewarding her handsomely for doing so, she still sighs in exasperation.)
Wait a minute, I think I got it.
Time in school is spent interacting in groups, collaborating on projects, and generally receiving “across-the-board” equal treatment. When crowned with this Messenger gig, they get unstructured time to solve “mysteries,” embark upon adventures, and one-on-one time with a friend. Much is left up to the discretion of this “trusted employee.”
They have freedom and they get to tap into their imagination to figure things out.
What an ingenious system to motivate kids, foster loyalty, build self-esteem, cooperation, and deepen friendships!
Check me out at www.warriormom.net for more musings and reflections.
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