Thursday, November 11, 2010

Expectations of a Student in a Leadership Role

This week a had a regularly scheduled meeting with my FFA chapter officer team.  We always have a meeting a week before our general FFA meeting with the whole chapter to discuss upcoming events and other items. 

One important item that I have been working on is building our chapter Program of Activities (POA).  This is an important document that will have information about our local FFA chapter such as: a record of our chapter rosters, budget, all activities broken down by committee and class, and other information about the National FFA Organization.  Our most important item in our POA is the chapter's Constitution and Bylaws.

Just for your information, the previous teacher had no idea where previous copies of their Constitution and Bylaws or POA were. So I was pretty much going from scratch on building this document. Luckily, I had a few samples from some other chapters to go by.

I began by going through the POA with the students and just showing them what information will be found in the document and pointing out which officers I will need to work with to finish it.  As we got to the Constitution and Bylaws, I assigned an officer a section to read over and instructed them if they saw something that they had a question or thought needed changed to mark it.  Well after a few minutes we all as a group started to go through the document.  We only got halfway though by the end of the meeting because we had some issues.

The first was requiring FFA members to exhibit a project at our local county fair.  I did not think this would be a big deal since all students would be making projects for our chapter's FFA booth at the fair anyhow.  They were arguing that its not fair for students to be required to do this and that some parents don't want their students at the fair.  So, after a few minutes of discussion with the kids I let it go and crossed it out since we weren't getting anywhere.

The second issue pertained to the officer team. As a teacher, I do try to hold my officers to a higher standard since they are in that leadership role. I believe they should be role models to other students and that they represent the chapter well in the community. 

The other item some of them had issues with was- Having a "C" grade point average while being an officer and/or apply to be an officer.  They started joking that "D"s equal degrees. I asked them that as role models, should they show others that a "D" is all that they should strive for and if that is a good representation of the hardwork of our FFA chapter.  They just shrugged it off saying it doesn't matter because noone will see there grades anyways.  My chapter President turns around to his sister who is our Reporter and just tells her to shut-up and quit complaining because they all have poor grades because they are all just lazy.  We ran out of time a few minutes after that so I told them we will continue later.

On my way home I was thinking to myself, if athletes have to have a "C" or better to play should I have the same rules for the officers? Should I just make the rule that if they have below a "C" they can't participate as a chapter officer until they get there grades up?  What should the expectations of a chapter officer be?  What do other teachers, administrators, and community members think the expectations of a chapter officer should be?

I am not sure what those answers are, but I do know that I want to find out now. 

What do you all think should be the expecatations of a student in a leadership position for a student organization? Feel free to leave a comment.

Post by Drew Bender


  1. Drew, I definitely think officers should be held to a high standard and should set the example for other students in your classroom. In terms of grades, I don't think it will happen all at once but building a classroom-wide expectation that grades are important would help, I think. Have you considered speaking to your officers one-on-one with a real heart-to-heart? It sounds like a big struggle is just the peer influence of joking/not taking things seriously/complaining, etc. you have going on.

  2. I had the same problems, Drew. I will tell you that I tried to work on a POA my first year and was met with the same critizisms. The second year went much more smoothly. This is the first year doing this, so next year it will be better if YOU set the precedence. If all else fails, you need to point this rule out because many other schools require this for ALL activities, not just sports. Stand your ground and your team will be so much stronger next year if not this year.

    Also, watch one-on-ones in the first few years until you build that respect level. I had a student that used it against me and told other students what I 'said'. The wording wasn't at all true, but it made me watch what I said.