As the teacher of the The Teen Bill of Responsibilities class, I can say that students learn the difference between rights and responsibilities. They understand that they do not have the right to do anything they want, and that more rights come with more responsibilities. Sharing their own experiences about responsibilities at home, in school, in their communities, with family and friends, has been eye opening for students and this teacher.
One of the good things about the class discussions is that there are no right or wrong answers. This does NOT mean there is no such thing as a right or wrong thing to do. The “no right or wrong answer” policy simply allows students to open up, freely, without fear of offering an incorrect answer. Students feel free to discuss what personal responsibility really means to them. Their answers are helpful to themselves as well as to one another. They have learned that responsible teens attend school daily, unless there is an emergency. Responsible teens complete classroom assignments and work hard to make good grades. Responsible teens demonstrate good behavior at home, at school and in the community. Responsible teens often look at themselves as good role models to other teens. I think that the general discussion of their personal responsibilities inspires self-confidence, motivation and self-esteem.
I believe that students enjoy the discussion about responsibilities when it comes to the family because they rely on their families for so much. One student said that she realized one of her responsibilities to her family, was to “do my best to succeed in school.”
Many students said they understand they should complete their chores at home. They understand the family structure and how important it is to them. They know that their families are responsible for them and they expressed appreciation and gratitude during the class discussion. They know their parents or guardians have more responsibilities than they do and as students they also know that they are not ready to take on those responsibilities at this time.
All the students in the class participated in the discussion about responsibilities to school and friends. They understand that they have to be more responsible in school to be able to succeed academically.
As a teacher, I know how very important it is to have responsible students in the classroom, because more instruction takes place instead of disruption.
The issue of school safety was discussed because students can focus more clearly in a safe environment. Schools have responsibilities to students such as providing a quality education and safe campuses. Students have responsibilities to schools such as not endangering other students and not being disruptive.
Overall, the Teen Bill of Responsibilities class is a wonderful class where students learn how to stay on track, focus, and remain responsible. These life lessons learned help students differentiate themselves from the crowd.
I really love teaching this class to help teens become more responsible to their families, schools, communities and friends. I am also learning from the students through the discussions.
The parents are happy to drive their teens to the class (which takes place after school) and some even sit in the class with the students. They have expressed to me how important the Teen Bill of Responsibilities class is for their teens because it helps keep them on track.
Los Angeles Unified School District