Dear Teacher and World,
Wow, this is the very first time that I addressed someone here besides teachers!
The reason I want to invite everyone in on this post (and future posts like this one) is because there is a something that teachers and other educators realize that others may not. The education discussion starts on the wrong track because there is something that happens day after day and year after year in most classrooms, and it is something that cannot be measured. There is magic and beauty.
Students start in one place in the year academically and they should end in academic growth, that is for sure. But that is just the tip of the iceberg. They also start somewhere socially, somewhere emotionally, somewhere with work ethic, somewhere with empathy, somewhere in the understanding of self…and it is in the classroom that growth in these areas happen, as well. Sometimes, growth in these areas far outweighs academics, and academic growth can’t happen until the other changes do.
And these things are not quite as measurable as academics…but they are far more beautiful.
Beauty can’t be tested, but it can be shared. And it should be shared.
So I sent the call out to teachers two days ago to share their stories with me so I can share them with you. I have been overwhelmed by the response and stories I have received. The teaching and learning process, for both teachers and students, is such an incredible aspect of life. I can’t help but share it with you.
The following are three stories from three different places in the US. The schools, states, and grade levels are all different…but the beauty is the same. Please read and take in how amazing education truly is!
Teacher Rita from Wisconsin:
We’ve been working on shoe-tying in kindergarten. We feel it’s important for several reasons. One, it builds fine-motor skills. Two, it builds perseverance strategies to deal with frustration. Three, it makes kids feel successful! One little boy just couldn’t get it…until…he DID!!! He had his mom video him tying and posted it to my Facebook page. He was sooooo proud! His mom was too, she wrote, “You are amazing! He has been working so hard and is so excited to show you in person! He even told me he wants to bring my shoe to school to show his class…. ” What a feeling for all three of us!
Teacher M from Maryland:
This is my 18th year of being a classroom educator. I have taught in Ohio and Maryland, and would not change my profession for ANYTHING in the world. I work with Co-teach sections of 6th and 7th grade Science in a Title 1 school. Many of my students do not have a great home environment.
During the course of the year, my students learn Science topics, but I also try to get them to understand that our class is like a family…dysfunctional as it may be at times with 24+ pre-teens/teenagers in a room. Because I am in a new building this year, I do not have the immunity that I had at my previous school, so I have been out sick a lot. The last time I was out some of my students got together and made a card for me and chipped in together to buy me a little stuffed octopus. The look of joy on their faces when I was reading the card and looking inside my “goodie” bag to find Octo was priceless! These students have so little and don’t realize how rich they really are if they but look past their circumstances. My students constantly keep me going and I love them for it!
Teacher Irene from Iowa:
I am a middle and high school special education math teacher. This is my seventh career, and I have finally found my calling. This story is about my Life Skills Math class from this year. These are the lowest kids we have in our school. My goal every year is to equip them with the math skills they will need to be successful and not get taken advantage of after high school. I work with these students year after year, so we grow quite close as a group. This is my eighth year teaching.
I never, ever, thought I’d be able to teach multiplication to this group. I see the need for some instant recall of facts at the higher levels, but wasn’t convinced that these students would benefit from that knowledge. Or that they’d even be able to retain the info.
But I’m a risk-taker, and these kids have grown tremendously this year, so I thought I’d give it a try as we’ve spent a good part of the year practicing skip counting by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s. I researched and came up with strategies for the “easiest” multiplication. And one of my students presented a strategy for multiplying by 6’s that I had never heard of!!! I fully believe she may have come up with it on her own…
I am extremely proud to say that my students can now multiply by 0, 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 9 and 10!!!! I have made colorful signs to hang on the wall reminding us of the strategies for each. I cannot wait to see what they do next year!
I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but be blown away by stories like these…both as a fellow teacher and as the parent of a child in school (soon to be two in school). Teachers, administrators, and school staff help make magic happen every day and every year, and it is amazing!
World, thanks for reading and taking a glimpse at what we get to see every day at schools and in our classrooms. Please know that there is more that is going on than can be measured on a test. Great things really are happening! I will share more of them with you soon.
Teacher, I hope you found something else besides just the beauty in these stories. I hope you found yourself. I hope you were thinking about the amazing things you see happening all of the time. These are what count. These are what we are meant to focus on. What beautiful things have you seen in your time as a teacher? Will you share them with me? Check out this post to find out how you can share your classroom magic with me and let me help you join the Teacher Song that the world needs to hear!
You are amazing! Thanks for all you do, Teacher. Keep making those magically beautiful things happen! Keep on teaching! You rock!