The Power of Student Voice (from a Student's Perspective)
Here at Mitchell Middle School, we have an incredible staff. Our janitors make sure our building is always in tip-top shape, our lunch monitors ensure that everyone is safe and enjoying their breaks, our EA’s act as a second set of hands to our teachers, our coaches take time out of their days to give us opportunities to do the things we love, our teachers makeup fun lessons for us every single day, and our principal makes sure everything is running as it should and is always ready to help staff and students in any way he can.
But staff isn’t all that makes up a school. It’s the students.
Kids come to school every day, surrounded by the same people, the same classes, the same routines. They are ultimately there to learn, but so much happens along the way. If you think about it, most of a child’s life happens during a school year. Every child has laughs, smiles, struggles, achievements, relationships, memories and so much more that happens at school. So, should they not have a say in what goes on in the school? Yes, they should. And MMS is doing a fantastic job of making sure they do.
The biggest change we’ve made this year is that we actually created a class called student voice. It is taught by our principal, Mr. Mead, each cycle.
For one period every six days, students get to attend this class and voice their opinions. Student voice is a safe place where kids can share their thoughts, ideas, suggestions and anything they may have on their mind. Whether it be anonymously or in front of the entire class, there are many ways that students can share their input.
Mr. Mead is always asking our thoughts on recent changes in the school and things that could be better for the future because school, like anything, is an imperfect system.
Another way that MMS encourages student voice is students have a say in decisions within the community. For example, our home hockey team is the Mitchell Mohawks. We are in the process of changing it because the name and logo, a headdress traditionally worn by a chief, is offensive to the indigenous culture. The 8th grade students were informed on why this change was happening and they were then given the opportunity to give their feedback regarding the whole thing and give suggestions for a new team name and logo.
Having a voice makes me feel safer at school. I know that I will have a chance to get my say. I know that I always won’t get my way but just knowing I will be listened to and have a chance to give some input makes school a better place.
--Jayde P., Grade 8
Mitchell Middle School, Manitoba
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