Schools are organisation’s that thrive on traditions and formalities. The older the institution the more the traditions and the bigger the pride in them. One of the oldest traditions of schools has been the nomination or elections of the School Captain or Head Boy/Girl. Over the years in most schools this tradition has taken legendary proportions and is highly coveted. Every student of the school knew who the school captain is and they all looked up to that leader. Middle school students especially idolise the leaders and used to be be in awe of them.
We all know that school students have changed dramatically over the years and the present generation of students think, act and behave very differently then they did even a few years ago. These changes demand a lot of improvement in the quality and attitude of the teachers and we have often heard the term that it is no longer ‘the sage on stage’ that is required in classrooms but more of ‘guide by the side’ that is more relevant in today’s classroom.
This idea got me thinking that if the role of a teacher has changed then is the role of a Head Boy/Girl relevant in todays scenario. Most schools continue to have this tradition. I decided to speak to a few kids over the past few weeks to understand what they think about the idea of School Leader and how they respond to it. The reactions I got for my questions and deliberations on the topic of School Captain were very cold. There was no longer the spark in the eyes of a middle schooler when they spoke about their captain, most were aware of the concept but that did not have a major impact on them.
These interactions got me thinking if the concept of having one leader the School Captain still holds good in schools or should it be more of a team of equals that should be running the student affairs of the schools?
Staying on with a related topic of what should be role the role of the Student Body or Council there were a lot of thoughts and suggestions. Students want to be part of many decisions that impact their life at school. Some schools have beautiful systems of including students in the decision making process while some schools choose to remain primitive and not take the students inputs. Students can be valuable resources for teacher recruitment or to give feedback on teachers, creative inputs and suggestions on time table formulation, handling difficult parents or students, school PR and social media, school events and many such areas.
Going forward schools would do well to involve a large number of students in the decision making and make them feel part of the process. Having one representative per class or school is an idea of the past, forming teams and forums is in. Its not about Student Council anymore it is more about the Student Voice which must be loud and vibrant in schools today.