We celebrated Valentine's Day yesterday at school. Since I have 6 English Language Learners in my classroom, explaining this "holiday" is a bit of a challenge. Three of them arrived at school without Valentines to pass out. Luckily, I always purchase several boxes after the holiday each year and store them for just such an occasion. Problem solved, sort of (they were still confused). One child arrived with a handknitted tissue box cover that his mom made for me. It was obviously wrapped by him and his face shown with pride. Another little boy brought me a rose. Several wrote special notes and cards and brought chocolate. One brought a half eaten sucker ("It's good," he told me, "I checked.) It was so sweet my heart nearly broke.
There is something so special about children in Elementary School. Most are so eager to please. They have a bottomless capacity to love and be loved. They are spongelike in their learning, always seeking knowledge, always questioning. They have a natural capacity for play and for laughter. It pains my heart to think that the system of Education that we are in is crushing these natural abilities in our children. I sometimes feel like our veteran teachers are our last line of defense from keeping corporate interests and all the Kool-Aid drinkers (aka Ed Reformers) from stealing our children's childhood.
Our district has proposed a longer school day next year for our Elementary students. Children would have an additional 40 minutes of class time. How this will be used is yet unknown. However, our proscribed minutes for ELA and math are already 40 minutes over our school day this year, so it is not a giant leap to figure this out. This means that our children will have more academic time, less playtime, less family time and less time to be little children. Will this raise test scores? Will this be in the best interest of our youngest learners? Is this what we want for our children: more Common Core and less common sense? My answer is NO. We need children who grow up to thrive. We need parents who are engaged and teachers who are empowered. Most of all, we need an educational environment that supports and listens to children, parents and teachers.
#SpeakupSpeakout #refuse #speaktruthtopower