The REBEL Society: Changing the Classroom Culture

In Brené Brown’s book, Daring Greatly, she interviews a group of middle school children asking them what they think the key to learning is…

One brave little girl gave an incredibly honest answer. She said:

“There are times when you can ask questions or challenge ideas, but if you’ve got a teacher that doesn’t like that or the kids in the class make fun of people who do that, it’s bad. I think most of us learn that it’s best to just keep your head down, your mouth shut, and your grades high.”

This broke my heart because I think this is the way so many of us live our lives… With our heads down, our mouths shut, and our grades/work ethic high.

But that’s not really living. And its not a catalyst for us to reach our full potential/pursue our dreams. It is actually a GINORMOUS road block on the way to our full potential/the pursual of our dreams. It may even completely derail us from ever pursuing our soul’s desires.

This must change and the only way I know how to change things is by starting with myself. I want to be the teacher in the classroom that encourages questions and facilitates the challenging of ideas. I also want to be the student that asks those questions and challenges ideas.

How can we ever move forward if we do not question? How can we ever move forward if we do not learn?

We can memorize the “right” answers all we want but that will not aid us in putting information into practice – or give us the confidence we need to set out and create our own path.

May we all encourage each other in this process. Next time someone asks a question you may think is silly, don’t laugh or make fun of them. Encourage the questioning. Answer the question, or better yet – aid them in coming to their own conclusion. Our education system is skilled at developing memorization skills, but greatly lacking in teaching us how to think for ourselves. But if we want to live a life of our dreams, one in which we dare life not to let us do what we love, we must think for our selves. MUST.

Our family, our friend groups, our communities, our world – these are our classrooms. We have the power to change the culture within them starting with ourselves. As people see you courageously standing up and creating a new kind of engagement – one that lights people up and inspires them – others will follow suit. And if they don’t, then its probably time you start hanging out elsewhere.


Jaclyn Steele

One thought on “The REBEL Society: Changing the Classroom Culture

  1. You truly hit the nail on the head with this one Jaclyn. I left teaching because of this illness in it almost 40 years ago. Excellent teaching takes real caring and intelligence! It doesn’t pay one for all that.

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