It is about half way through the school year, and what do you think I’ve been hearing about at work day after day? The upcoming Olympic games (so excited!), or good books we’ve read to our kids? NO. End of year testing. Every day there is a discussion or a training to get us all ready for the brand spankin’ new standardized tests, that no one seems to know anything about yet. Scary.
Testing has been on my mind. A lot. Too much. Am I losing sight of what matters with these kids?
Then I read this blog post from Momastery: Share This With All the Schools, Please
And I stopped. Here is a description of a teacher who GETS IT. She isn’t just teaching math, she is teaching human beings. “All is love.”
And I resolve to think about training good kids instead of training good test takers.
It is not as if this is new. I just need reminders once and awhile. THIS WAS A POWERFUL REMINDER.
I am the teacher who has “We Are Kind” posted on the classroom wall in a big frame I painted one summer. We spend the whole first week brainstorming ways to be kind to each other. We giggle and cheer and bond. And then school happens.
February is going to be a VERY busy month for my class. Crammed into the shortest month of the year will be 4 full days of testing, Parent Teacher Conferences, publishing a class book, the Valentine’s Day Party, two art assemblies, several birthdays, and a career day, on top of our regular classroom activities (some of those I am truly PSYCHED about, and some of them I am dreading . . . cough cough testing . . . )
But—being busy is no excuse. If I have time for a load of testing that I don’t believe in, surely I have time for a small and powerful thing that I DO believe in.
I teach in a third grade Dual Immersion classroom, which means I have one group of kids in the morning and another group in the afternoon. I am responsible for 44 little souls. I feel the weight of that responsibility.
That blog post made me stop immediately and THINK.
The part about looking for patterns jumped out at me. I can do that. THAT would be powerful for my kids.
So I am asking myself these questions:
Which kids are looked over and forgotten? Why?
Which kids are showing bravery? How?
What can I do for them today?
What can I do for them tomorrow?
If I can change my classroom in little ways, to help those kids who feel lost, then I might actually accomplish what I set out to do at the beginning of the year: foster kindness.
So I am adding something else into the mix for February and the rest of the year. And I couldn’t be more happy about it 🙂