Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I lied to my entire staff and did it to them on the first day of Teacher Appreciation Week!
Ok, seriously, what kind of a leader does that to such a valuable group of individuals whose sole purpose in life is to improve the lives of young children?
This Lead Learner did, with the help of the entire student body! Yes, we faked an assembly and it was AWESOME!
Two weeks ago, I called our student council officers into my office and asked if they would be willing to help me pull off a crazy idea. I explained to the five officers that I needed them to interview students through the school day, before or after school without being caught. They were instructed to ask each student if they'd be willing to share a "Thank You" to a teacher that made a difference in their lives this year or in the past. Then they had the toughest job in the world to do: telling their own classmates (grades 5-8) that they couldn't say a word to any of their teachers. YES, A MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT HOLDING A SECRET IS TOUGH. THE THOUGHT OF ASKING SO MANY OF THEM TO DO IT WAS SCARY, BUT EXTREMLY TRUSTWORTHY.
After much stealth work by our officers, they reconvened in my office where they downloaded each video clip and created a short video that would be shown at the assembly. They even called in one of their tech squad friends instead of our IT department to help finalize the video. Yet, we still needed a way to make the assembly seem so real that no one would know that it was fake. As a big believer in student voice, I asked the officers for their ideas, and wow, they were great!
They came to an agreement that the beginning of the video should have an two anti-bullying slides, followed by static. Then after 30 seconds of static, the video transitioned to: THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR TEACHERS, followed by each student's thank you. BUT...
We still needed to add some dramatics. We planned that I would lead the assembly by explaining that I was able to bring in a top anti-bullying speaker last minute. Then, while explaining what the assembly was about, I was to take a fake phone call at the podium. I was to walk out in frustration and say I'm so sorry but I need to take this. I would then say that maybe our student council officers could assist me while I was talking to the missing speaker. The officers then would walk in as I walked out of the gym and take over. They would pretend to lead the assembly and try to fix/play the video. After 30 seconds of faking it, they would sit down and I would come back in. When the video made its way to the static, I was to act frustrated again to them. Then the magic would begin!
Yes, the student body and I lied to the staff, but it was worth every second of it! As the video played, the emotions that I felt from seeing their facial expressions were priceless. At the conclusion of the video, I took the mic and asked that each teacher stand. Then the entire student body gave them a huge round of applause which they so deserved.
Thank you to all of my staff as they constantly strive to enhance the lives of our students! Thank you to all the great educators that I had in my life!
Here is a link to their video: http://youtu.be/86BuXG_dryo