Hesperia students enjoy leadership role as Classroom Managers
The Hesperia campus has adopted a powerful tool to help prepare medical, business and technical students to take leadership roles in their chosen fields. The idea of appointing Classroom Managers was introduced about six months ago to a few classes and has since grown to include all classrooms.
Classroom Managers are students chosen to be responsible for assisting the instructor in duties like monitoring student dress code, noting student absences or tardiness, preparing the whiteboard, gathering materials and other organizing tasks. “It’s up to the instructor as to how much responsibility they want to give,” says Stephanie Stevens, Academic Dean.
Students have really warmed to the leadership role they step into. “I’ve had 100% positive feedback,” says Stephanie, who works with participating students and instructors to change the framework of the students’ leadership responsibilities as new ideas and opportunities arise. “We’re always learning from what students say and modify it accordingly.”
Student leaders are finding new resources within themselves. “I must admit that when I was asked to take this position, I was hesitant,” says Miguel Mendez, Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning-Refrigeration (HVAC-R) program student. “I wanted to stay in my comfort zone and avoid any possible confrontations. In the end, it was a great opportunity which allowed me to grow and mature more as an individual while allowing me to coach, direct and build relationships with my fellow peers.”
Every 5 weeks, a Classroom Manager Luncheon is held to both celebrate student leaders and give them another experience of how careers benefit from interaction with work colleagues. “The luncheons are an opportunity to have a mock managers’ meeting,” says Stephanie. The luncheon gives Classroom Managers a chance to talk about their roles and interactions with fellow students.
“Students share how they have professionally grown within the previous module,” says Stephanie. “Students also tell of the challenges experienced while managing their class and the action steps they took to rectify them. Often, these classroom leaders have become a mentor for new students and a support for classmates. It’s an opportunity to reach out to new students and make them feel comfortable.”
The luncheon is also a chance for various programs to connect. “While students are taking part in the luncheon, they are eating, talking and sharing in a professional manner,” says Stephanie. “They are able to share the lessons of their classroom and talk about what works well.”
Students are not the only ones who benefit a great deal from this exercise in leadership. “Instructors have learned how nice it is to have an assistant in the classroom,” says Stephanie. “They appreciate having a manager focused on helping those new students find their footing.”
“Part of the Classroom Manager’s role is to mentor first module students, so I am hoping this will result in a better experience for new students and help retention, as well,” says Stephanie.
Classroom Managers are chosen in a variety of ways. An instructor may make the selection or encourage student peers to nominate a classroom assistant. “One instructor had all students apply for the position and interviewed them individually,” says Stephanie. “That, in itself, was a good exercise in how to present themselves. It was pretty cool!”
The Classroom Manager idea has proven itself to be popular among students and faculty. “Instructors are happy with how the students have really taken to it,” says Stephanie. “It’s been really well received by the managers and by those being managed by their peers. It is good practice for the real work-world.”
“This experience had helped me develop and hone in on my abilities to be in a leadership position in my trade,” says Miguel. “When I am in a position of authority, it places a great deal of responsibility on me, because others will look upon me to lead by example and not crack under pressure.”
Some instructors give their Classroom Managers Certificates of Leadership, and many student participants include their participation on their resumes. It demonstrates solid leadership experience that any employer would value.
The most recent luncheon was an energetic exchange among students. “It is very exciting to see how much our students thrive on leadership responsibilities,” says Stephanie. “Every time I leave a lunch I have an increased energy and joy!”
Stephanie hand-delivers special luncheon invitations to each participating student manager and makes a point of thanking them in front of their peers for their assistance in the classroom.
“I am grateful and proud for being chosen for this position,” says Miguel. He encourages other students to take on this role when an instructor asks them to be their Classroom Manager. “Very likely that person (instructor) sees qualities and potential that we are not capable of seeing within ourselves.”
The Hesperia campus is happy to have developed yet one more way to help graduates put their best attributes on full display for potential employers.