When I gave my students the opportunity to take greater ownership of their own learning, with my role becoming more of a guide and advisor, they all were excited about the possibility. They don't want to be left totally to their own devices, but they do want to have a greater say in how they learn the material before them. Believe it or not, this actually creates more work for me: I have four Advanced Placement classes, which will now in all likelihood be doing four very different things on any given day. And yet, if I believe in empowering people - and I do, which is one reason I choose to teach Government - it is perhaps the only way I can honestly approach teaching.
I approach what may be the end of my time in the secondary classroom. That is empowering for me. I am far more willing to trust my own instincts, to provide space for my students to express themselves, to push back against mandates and strictures, because I can walk out with my pension any time I want.
I have no idea what will happen when any class shows up. That is far from being within my control. And that makes teaching that much more exciting.
Should not our politics and our governance be similarly empowering our citizenry? Or have we abandoned what it means to be a small d democracy, and in the process lost sight of the ideal of res publica? I wonder.