My friend and her sister were visiting over the weekend. The sister is a first grade teacher with almost 30 years of experience, and she’s totally frustrated with things she is being FORCED to do. I know that many of you feel the same way. Don’t you think that the people who write the curriculum and standards ought to be able to model what they ask other teachers to do? Obviously, they have not been in the classroom and tried to juggle all of the needs of 25+ students while asking them to do the impossible!
Here’s an example of what happened in my friend’s classroom last week. Now, mind you, they must SHOW all of their work. “There were 78 birds and 34 flew away. How many are left?” One little boy said, “Ms. ____, that’s a lot of birds to draw!” She said they got so frustrated drawing they couldn’t count or keep up. Some could even figure out the answer, but it didn’t matter because they had to SHOW their work. I’d like to see the person who wrote that try to draw 78 lines and then cross through 34 to SHOW the answer with the small motor skills and attention span of a six year old. Can you say popsicle sticks in bundles?
I wish I were in charge of the world, but I’m not! All I can say is that I sympathize and understand. You are not alone! And, the good news is that things will change again and again. So, what to do? Shut your door, sing a song, read a book that you enjoy, do a cheer, and look in those children’s eyes and remember why you wanted to be a teacher!!!!
Here’s an idea to end on a positive note. I attended an exercise class last week when we were on vacation. The instructor had us do a little good-bye routine at the end, and I’ve adapted it for the classroom:
Put your right hand in the air if you worked hard today.
Put your left hand in the air if you had fun learning today.
Stick your hands out in front of you and wave good-bye to me.
Put your hands together and give yourself a round of applause
because you’re a great kid!