How to Train Student Leaders
Crystal Bishop has worked as a student leader and as an advisor to student leaders. She understands the principles of leadership and how to teach students in a way that really lets them step into their role as leaders. You will not want to miss this amazing episode!
Student Leadership Program
Crystal was part of the founding committee that started a local charter school.
They decided to start a student leadership program and because of Crystal's involvement in student leadership growing up, it was something that the team felt like she had to offer.
It grew each year to become a full functioning class where they met 5 hours a week. The students in that class put on all the events for students.
Student Leadership Experience
When Crystal was a student leader in middle school, the staff there didn’t let the kids do anything; instead, the teachers did everything.
Crystal realized that that didn’t make her feel good as a student.
When students have no power and can’t do anything it is frustrating for them because they want to make a difference and it takes all the fun out of it.
In high school, she had the opportunity to work with different advisors.
One teacher in particular treated the students in a way that they knew that she depended on them and they mattered.
Kids would rise to the occasion and truly be leaders.
When Crystal became student body president she wanted her fellow students to know that they mattered to her and she wanted to follow that model of letting students have responsibilities.
Teaching Students to Lead
Recognize the students for the potential that they have. Look at them and see leaders; treat them like leaders.
In order for students to lead, we really need to give them proper training.
If a child (or anyone) isn’t trained right, they won’t be able to perform.
Train them, and then let them do what you taught them to do- get out of the way.
Letting go is the best thing you can do.
"During every class period with the kids, we would be training them," Crystal says, "For example, if our class met Monday/ Wednesday/ Friday, we would do training on Monday and have them teach Wednesday and Friday."
"I would use different leadership games and concepts and then apply these to our lives."
She would do this by asking the students, "What will that look like at our next function?"
"The kids then teach that same format to each other because they learn when they are teaching."
"For example, we have a program called find your genius night."
Parents and people from the community come to this event, and "the 11 and 12 year olds do all the planning for the community."
Let Students Reach out to Other Students
For the most part, kids listen to and are respectful to each other.
Sometimes, they listen to each other more than they will listen to an adult.
Crystal points out that, "When there’s a problem, my first line of defense is to find the ASB president and have that person talk to the student that needs help."
It helps both students, the one that needs help and the one that is leading.
They learn how to lead in a proper way.
Leadership is service and example.
Leadership is not position.
Having a title doesn’t make student leaders "more than" or better than the other students.
As students learn to lead by example, other students will respect them in a whole different way.
Service and example lead to respect, not just having the position.
Key Components in Student Leadership
1. Let students or adults know that you love them.
You have to be invested and care about the person for them to care about what you’re trying to teach them.
It won’t matter to them unless they know they matter to you.
2. Hold them accountable in a positive way.
Crystal gives this example: Every once in a while a kid does drop the ball but the others step in and help.
"We do a review and talk about what we could have done differently."
After discussing the event as a group, I would pull the student aside and ask what happened and let them know that I am talking to them because I want to help them and to know what I can do to see them succeed."
When others see the good in us, we want to prove them right. This is a great way to grow positive culture and positive leadership in students.