This is part of a series where I explore my top five strengths in detail and think of ways I can utilize them in the classroom. Check out the intro post here. The two books I reference in this post are “Strengths Finder 2.0” by Tom Rath and “Teach With Your Strengths” by Rosanne Liesveld and Jo Ann Miller.
Responsibility basically means that I take pride in my work. I will volunteer for task after task and feel personally responsible for the success or failure of whatever I take on. Others can rely on me that if I say I will do something, I will. If something goes wrong, I feel like I have to fix it or make it up to the person, rather than just apologizing. (149 Rath) I learned in college that I have to be careful to not put too much on my plate. I would volunteer for things left and right and would have to drop the ball on something. I learned to look at what I already had to do and if I could realistically take on another thing and get everything done without skimping quality.
I am honestly not sure how to apply this one in the classroom. I burnt myself out in my first semester because of this trait. I felt like it was my responsibility to make sure everyone learned, even the ones that didn’t try or care. That meant that I was constantly stressing about how to help certain students that didn’t want help. I even put extra work on myself to help them succeed even though they didn’t care and didn’t do it anyway. It was a frustrating nightmare for me and I had to learn to let go.
Maybe I can use this strength to help divide out responsibility in the classroom. These high school students are about to be adults and have no idea what that means. Maybe I should find a way to incorporate responsibility into my lessons and/or classroom management. One idea would be to have students tidy the classroom before they leave. I could put a timer on for 1 minute where they have to pack up, put things away, tidy up, and throw away any trash they find. I can also help them divide up the various responsibilities of group work.
Liesveld and Miller say that my “heightened awareness of right and wrong could position and prepare you to make significant contributions to the ethical and moral development of students,” (153). I’m not entirely sure how I could tie that in other than just making moral choices and letting the students see that.
What suggestions do you have on making “significant contributions to the ethical and moral development of students”? I would also love to read your ideas on how I can bestow a sense of responsibility on my students. What other ways do you think I can utilize this strength in the classroom?