I've spent a lot of time with my granddaughter this summer. Rylie turned 16 months old yesterday and is no doubt the light of my life. As I watch her grow and learn, celebrating every new word, every milestone, I am reminded that each child that walks through my classroom door has people in his/her life who feel that same way about them.
It is easy to get bogged down in the rigors of 'educating' the child and lose sight of the actual child. That is my goal for this school year: Find ways to celebrate each student, their personal successes/gains throughout the year, and share those with their families so they may also celebrate.
Schools have become more about test scores and standards lately, and less about the child. I think until we regain our focus in the individual student, we will continue to flounder trying to boost our scores by shoving more and more curriculum down their throats. We need to take a step back, look at our students as individuals, and focus our efforts on where they are, and where they need to be, as well as how we can bring that child along the educational continuum effectively, as an individual. Then, and only then, will we meet our 'benchmarks'.
In the meantime, I have one week left with Rylie this summer. One more week of cooking pretend food and feeding it to monkeys, one more week of playing in the sandbox and swimming pool, one more week of picking flowers and tossing rocks, one more week of reading and rereading about silly monkeys and itsy bitsy spiders....hoping that someday, when she goes to school, her teachers make her feel just as special as I think she is.