Breakthroughs

Rodriguez ES teacher empowers students by letting them lead

Sharlene Laud

Sharlene Laud

Sharlene Laud, an English as a Second Language teacher at Rodriguez Elementary School, is instilling a strong sense of ownership in her students by having them conduct their own class meetings and encouraging them to reach out when they are stuck.

“Every morning after breakfast, my class conducts a student-led meeting in which they recite our creed,” she said. “I have found that by having the students state the rules, they are reminded of the expectations they need to hold themselves to and start the day with a focused mindset. It is a daily reminder that they must be active participants in their education.”

Laud also has a poster on her wall that reads, “Instead of I don’t know, say…” to remind students of their options. “The poster reinforces a saying we have in our classroom,” she explained. “‘It is okay to not know, but it is not okay to not try.’ Students know that even they always have options for support, whether that is asking a friend or getting clarification. I want students to be comfortable admitting they do not know something, embrace the opportunity to learn, and be proactive in getting more information for themselves.”

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