“Freedom grants us the opportunity for greater meaning,” stated Mark Manson in his book, The Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck. I’m not talking about religious freedom nor am I talking about the freedom of speech. What I am talking about is both the freedom we need as teachers to educate our students in the manner we see fit AND what type of freedom do our students need in the classroom to be successful. Manson also stated, “If freedom is something we aim for, but has no meaning, then it means nothing.” Very philosophical, but…wow, this made me think! In my opinion, this statement means…if the freedom we are fighting for doesn’t have a cause, then what is the point of having that freedom we just fought for? In all the times we have pushed to do something, create something, teach something, are we really trying to create freedom for ourselves, for our students, and/or for the simple act of teaching? Are we trying to create freedom to do what is best for our students with the best scope and sequence that we deem the most important? What does freedom mean to you in your classroom? What does freedom look like to you? Are you willing to fight and overcome the struggles you face in order to discover your freedom?
The joy in discovering and obtaining freedom should be in the climb itself. Isn’t this what we want our students to learn and aim for? For students, freedom could be the ability to work with a partner of their choosing, or it might look like creating their own classroom rules or seating chart. However, as teachers, I believe freedom in the classroom looks something like this: once we have given them instruction, we give them the freedom to work at their own pace without interruption. While there still needs to be classroom rules and boundaries, giving them the freedom to learn, grow, and become more independent under those rules and boundaries will create more responsibility and accountability. Ultimately, as teachers, we want our students to be able to express themselves freely during all phases of their education, whether it be class discussion, inquiry, expression or academic achievement. So…how are you going to fight for freedom in the classroom?