Teacher on Strike, What a Great Lesson

When I was first asked to write this guest post, my reaction was basically fear. I am a second grade teacher, and don't think of myself as a writer and I want people to be excited about Shower Strike. But the more I thought about it, the more I felt it important to pass along the importance of Shower Strike AND set an example for my students about doing what you don't think you can do.

We all, at times, have helped others in need; whether through an angel tree, mission work, Goodwill, or some other organization. But when the act is done, we go on our way, not knowing if it made a real difference or not. I have always been a compassionate person. My family and friends all say I wear my heart on my sleeve and each year my students get used to the fact that Mrs. S. cries at books. A few years ago, after seeing, hearing about, and helping my daughter resettle refugees in Seattle, the urgency of basic human needs became clear to me. That's when my sister-in-law, Melanie, started telling me about Shower Strike and the teacher in me knew it was the perfect opportunity to have my students learn about a real-world problem. Little did I know how well this lesson would work!

The first year it was such a novel idea that we had to keep raising our fund raising goal because everyone wanted to contribute. It was a win-win for all; our school district received great press through several different radio stations, newspapers, and one of the state-wide TV stations (kids love being on TV!), kids learned about helping others, and with the help of other Strikers a well was installed in Kenya. In total, we raised about $2000 for creating a well. People were asking me, the students, and even my husband, "Are you tired of being stinky yet?" "Is Dawn really doing this?!". It was a great way to show kids that even at a young age, they can make a difference.

The 2nd & 3rd years we did Shower Strike, my students took part in their very first problem-based learning (PBL) unit. It was a huge success. They chose the topic about Kenya they wanted to research, created a short presentation, then showed it to anyone who would listen. Once again, we had to raise our goal because the kids are so darn cute; and who can resist a stinky 2nd grader!

This year, my class is branching out. Partnering with Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency, Julie Graber, and Shannon Miller-McClintock, we are trying to reach out to multiple schools to have them join us. Our big picture goal is for enough Iowa schools to participate that we can fund a well from Iowa kids to Kenya kids. The idea began with a conversation at a tech conference this past summer. At this point, we have a few schools on board and I have a PBL curriculum created for them to use if they are interested.

This wonderful act of compassion; this giving of yourself while having fun, is ready to grow exponentially. Come join us! If you are a teacher, or know one who would be interested in getting their students involved in making a difference, let me know. Of all the many things we need to teach our students, what better lessons can we teach than the importance of helping others and making a difference.

If you like having fun while making a difference in the world, join Shower Strike. This is what winning smells like!