As a “teacher of teachers” at Marygrove College, I am always on the lookout for a good school story. Don Aslett tells the story of two schools in the same U.S. city. The first had a lunchroom strewn with trash which took hours to clean every day. The second school’s janitor needed just 15 minutes. The schools were as identical as two schools can be, except for different principals. At the second, the principal required students to clean up their own places. “Anything you mess up, you clean up,” was the fair, simple rule which “unquestionably taught and reinforced the most important ingredient of greatness: responsibility.”
The recent slogan “Make American Great Again,” made me think. The last time America was great was when responsibility was something taught at home and school, and the principle of “For the Common Good” was held in mind when leaders of government and industry made decisions, when we said “our children,” rather than “those children” regardless of how well they tested. So, how about it? Let’s clean up our own messes and demonstrate to the world that we understand the most important ingredient of greatness: responsibility. I’ll make you a deal – I’ll teach our teachers how to help our children learn this amazing skill if you will do your part by addressing all forms of inequality at home and abroad. Deal?
Diane S. Brown, Ph.D., IHM, was appointed the Coordinator for the Academic Department of Marygrove College’s Master in the Art of Teaching program in 2007 and the Director in 2010. She is currently the Chair of Education. Brown’s research interests include student-teacher interactions in the online environment and the use of Currere as a method to retain experienced teachers in the profession.