Monthly Archives: March 2014

I am a Teacher, and I’m Worried

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I am a teacher, and I’m worried.

I am worried about cursive handwriting.  It’s gone.  The powers that be have decided it is no longer needed.  How is that possible?  How can anyone say that all people shouldn’t be able to read and write in cursive?  Does this mean that our children will not be able to read birthday cards sent by their grandparents, or historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence, or even a scribbled grocery list?  This bothers me.  And will they be able to sign their names the first time they take out a loan for a car or a house?  They say computers are making cursive handwriting obsolete.  I don’t believe that… not at all.

I love my computer, there’s no denying it, but computer blah, blah, blah.  Computers are not the answer to every problem in the world.  They will never replace the emotion in a written letter or the flare of an exquisite signature gracing the bottom of an important document.

I am a teacher, and I’m worried.

Art is disappearing from our schools…along with hand-painted t-shirts and zip-loc bag ice cream, science and social studies.  They are vanishing before my very eyes.  Children, especially very small children, need to be creative.  They need to paint and color and imagine.  We are stifling their creativity by stealing what little time they once had to explore.

I’m a teacher, and I’m worried.

Parents are vanishing from our schools.  I don’t see them at lunch anymore, and because of the need for more instruction time, they are rarely in our building for anything else.  We need our parents.  We need them to care about our school.  When we lose our parents, we will become a body without limbs.  Somehow there has to be way to meet all the standards placed upon us while still involving the most important key to a student’s success.  Without parental involvement, we’re all doomed.

I am a teacher, and I’m worried.

I’m worried about the ‘product’ we’re producing.  Will this all work…Common Core and PARCC, etc., etc.?  Will the children really be so much smarter or will it end up being just an experiment on our children?  And what if it doesn’t work?  How will we help them recover?

I feel anxiety and stress because I don’t like the changes – so is it just me?  Just my problem?  My self-induced anxiety?  I’m worried because the world is changing quicker than I care to keep up.  I want my students to grow seeds in a cup on a sunny windowsill.  I want them to create artistic masterpieces they envision.  I want them to learn about the planets and St. Patrick’s Day and the seasons and past presidents.  I want these things so I squeeze them in when I can, but will it be enough to keep the sparks alive in their creative minds while filling the knowledge bank on the other side of their brains?

I am worried but I will try not to worry.  I’ll try to focus on each day, each moment, instead of a bleak, scary future.  I’ll turn my worry over and pray for balance.  Balance to teach what my heart knows is right while fulfilling every demand before me.  I will teach first graders prepositions and regrouping, and I will do my best, but I won’t give up the search for balance.

Balance that holds us steady instead of flinging us into untested ideas.  Balance that keeps in mind the needs of the child, not the need for a test score confirmation.  Balance that looks at the whole instead of the minute.  Balance that includes common sense and empathy, growth as well as understanding.

I am worried, but I won’t lose my balance.

I See Yellow!

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A little yellow cup, a little yellow frill, a little yellow star, and that’s a daffodil.

 Surrounded by the brown, bleak world of winter, the very first smidgen of color finally graced our farm.  A bright, sunny yellow surrounded by a few shoots of green.  Tiny in comparison to the fields of gray, but size doesn’t matter.  A little yellow cup …a little yellow buttercup.  And I’m so thankful they’re here.

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How did these get here? I wonder who planted them? I wish I knew!

I always teach the poem above to my students, but I have never called these bright flowers daffodils.  They have always been buttercups to me.  Maybe it’s a southern thing.  I’m blessed to live on an old farm that has a lot of these beauties.  The smaller, wild variety line my driveway, and the yard is full of a mixture of hand-planted bulbs.  There are White Lions and Butter and Eggs, Twin Sisters and Birthday Girls.  They are all gorgeous and such a joyful surprise each spring.  Don’t you love their nicknames?

After a long, cold winter, I sure am glad to see their shining faces!

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A little warmth for your day:  A sweet girl came up to me with the United States map.  She said, “Mrs. Rackley…show me where Afree-gani-a-stan is on here.  My friend’s daddy is there.”  I told her we needed a globe for that one.  Only six-year olds can sound so cute saying Afghanistan.

And this was a paper turned in by a student today.  They had spelling sentences for homework last night.  Check out number 3.

This is homework from one of my sweetest students.  He/she may have had a little help with a few of these.

He/she may have had a little help with a few of these.

As winter squeezes us with its last fierce hugs, I hope you all find color and warmth in the world around you.  Hang on tightly, spring is on its way!