Nineteen days and counting…this school year is quickly coming to a close. Unbelievable. We were talking about the end of our time together today, the kids and I, and one little girl said, “You’re gonna make me cry.” I quickly responded, “Don’t you dare. If you cry, I’ll cry!” Another child chimed in, “I like to see grown-ups cry. I think it’s funny.” I laughed hard…not sure why…I think it was a stress-filled, give me a bag of chocolate, laugh.
(I stayed away from the chocolate somehow…until I got home.)
So what keeps me going besides chocolate? Some days nothing but divine intervention, but other times reading a letter like this one:
Or this one from a little boy who hasn’t written anything on his own all year. I told him he could write two sentences and that would be enough. He didn’t stop until the end. So, so proud of this child.
His words warmed my tired heart. Bless him.
We start tests next week…the lovely achievement tests. Sigh. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years – it is what it is at this point. I found a little something I wrote last year and it sums up my feelings about testing better than I could ever restate:
“Instead of having a nice, normal Monday of learning and fun with these kids (tomorrow), we’re instead entering the torture chamber. Achievement tests begin (tomorrow). Government mandated, cluelessly approved, so not appropriate for six and seven-year old children, tests. On my honor, I will strive to take as much of the stress from them as I can but no matter what I do…bribe them with mints, stand on my head, feed them cookies afterwards, they still have to do the work. I can’t do it for them. My kiddos will have to sit for two hours a day and fill in bubbles to questions that may or may not be on their level. As a teacher and a parent, I despise these tests. Have you ever seen a child cry over a test when the teacher isn’t allowed to tell them a word? I have. Have you ever seen the panic in a student’s eyes when they realize the powers that be are trying to trick them with the answer choices? I see it every year. It makes me wonder if the creators of tests for children have ever had their souls healed by a child before? If they have, I can’t help but believe they would never succumb such small children to such inappropriate measures.
To all the children, teachers, parents and principals readying for the week ahead, my heart and head are with you. We’re all in this together just in different rooms, in different counties, in different states. I pray these children rise above the stress and blossom, and I pray for the leadership of our county, state and country. I pray for awareness for what small children really are. They are not robots or machines and they will not respond like one. I pray that each unique child will be loved and appreciated for who they are…not for a number. We are all different. Not everyone will make a high score on their ACT. Not everyone can be Valedictorian. But I know this, everyone is here for a reason. Everyone has a job to do somewhere on this earth.
For every child that has healed my soul, thank you. Thank you for being you…just you.”