Who is the Grownup You?

hello-fourth-grade

Much to my surprise, I found fourth graders to be an exciting and fun group to teach. They listened when I asked them to listen   …well, most of the time. They worked when I asked them to work…well, most of the time. They laughed at all of my jokes and when I asked them to stop laughing, they did stop…well, most of the time.

They talked when I asked them to talk…all of the time! Honestly, it was the desire of my fourth graders to please the teacher, to make friends, to be happy and very surprisingly to figure out life beyond school. These were children who knew that their home environment was most likely not ideal.

Their parents…for the most part…  struggled from paycheck to paycheck or did not work at all. The children clearly wanted to try to make something good out of themselves…to find success beyond their poverty stricken neighborhood.

Some would make it…how I hoped that they all would figure out life after school.

 

working-at-tables

Even though fourth graders face high stakes state tests in the Spring, I felt like I needed to focus on their hopes and fears for the future. I needed to work on building up their confidence. I needed to teach them that a strong work ethic is the first step. I needed to teach them that they could and should start working on a plan for the future. These fourth graders needed to decide what types of work they might desire as a grownup.

Their opinions and their questions about education and jobs were continuous. Their interest in what they might be when they grew up proved that nine and ten year old children could be deep thinkers as well as deep worriers. I thought that once we got the conversations going about their plans for the future…that they then would realize the importance of making super effort on their regular classroom work. And thus…do well on the big tests in the Spring.

 

The plan worked. They learned to persevere. They learned to figure out their possible choices and desires for the future. They learned that doing well in school was the important first step.

 

fourth-grade

In order to help each student to start thinking about the future…we began to talk in small discussion groups, to write in daily journals, to post writing samples around the room, to share hopes with the class. Of course, we worked on the science curriculum, the math curriculum, the social studies curriculum, the reading curriculum and so on.

However, our class project was called “working on a plan for the future”. I found out that it is never too early to place a class of children on a strong pathway to tomorrow. How I wish that this type of concept would be taught in teacher preparation coursework in colleges…especially important for teaching the children in Title I schools where crime is rampant, money for food/housing is limited, and street smart children are sometimes the norm.

I had no idea about the possibilities of stepping outside of the box. The “powers that be” were not on board with the idea or supportive at all. So sad, but our class kept on the same pathway no matter what…because it was working.

 

writing

 

The students wrote many important stories, poems, paragraphs about future careers. One nine year old girl wanted to be a teacher. These are her words about teachers and what they do:

“Like a Teacher”

Like a teacher, I can help.

Like a teacher, I could know the answers.

Like a teacher, I can help people to understand something that they don’t know.

Like a teacher, I could encourage kids to do what is right.

Like a teacher, I would want to learn and tell people what I have learned so I could pass it on.

Like a teacher, it feels good to break apart something to help someone understand.

Like a teacher is being myself.

 future-teacher

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/desire/

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16 thoughts on “Who is the Grownup You?

  1. Pingback: Author Interview – Reily Garrett – The Carnal Series, Unholy Alliance, Tiago, Tender Echoes, Journey to Dawn: Step One, Breathe & Digital Velocity | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

    • When you have entire groups of children who really listen and care…it is a thrill! So fun and fulfilling! On the other hand, there are some classes that need an extra bit of attention… well, a lot of attention. It is possible to get them on your side. It takes a bunch of patience…that’s for sure!

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      • Thank you! Teaching is truly within my heart. It is my second career…when I finished college with a degree in Journalism and Sociology…I worked at newspapers for seven years. I loved those jobs and really never intended to teach. I did not even get a teaching certificate with my first degree. After our children were born, I stayed home for a while and did volunteer work. There was an opening at the Day School at our church…I could apply for the job because I had a BA degree. I was totally crazy about this job!!! So fun! I eventually got all of my my teaching certificates and then my master’s in administration. I taught in Title I public schools for the economically disadvantaged for 18 years!

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    • Thank you! Teaching is such fun! And yet…you have to really stand your ground if you believe in your students and the particular way that they learn! In my last district, there were many demands from the administration building. The demands were not always best practices for the children! I just posted my response to the word “swarm”! A bit late, but I got it done and that is amazing!!!! The video is huge…I need help…I cannot make it smaller! It is a good video with the TCU men’s chorus singing the Star Spangled Banner! I just love it!

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  2. God bless you and all teachers! My niece is a science teacher and so much is right out of her own money, dedication and drive but all the “top” seems to care about are your kids “numbers” – she’s even had kids that obviously can’t read be in her sixth grade class! We need to empower these teachers a LOT more to use common sense of what works! (Sorry, hot button for me as teachers make so little vs what they do and now are expected to go through!)

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  3. lovely post-and you are a wise teacher. You taught life skills, that will allow your children to know what to do with their education-a concept usually ignored–I HATE the tests. I do not believe they add one iota of help -at least most of the time. There is so much more to a school year than two days in June. Good for you-I know your students loved you.

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    • Thank you a lot! I REALLY disliked the tests SO much! When I went back to teaching K and the PK… What do you know.?!…a state test for PK! It was given three times a year. Each child had to be tested individually on a computer. We tested in the hallway so it would be quiet. Our assistants handled our classes. It took two to three weeks (at least) to complete the test for all 22 children! It was beyond ridiculous. That is when I said… enough! I really intended to teach another 4 or 5 years! I loved those children…no matter what grade…so much!

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      • it is like that in NC too-can you imagine if we had that money for the children!! and I am sorry in NC for the teachers too!! I work at a public charter school-It is Montesorri, but we must adhere to the testing-quite contradictory. It is worse now than ever-babies tested when they ought to be playing!! O I cant bear it-well-you are not alone in that thought, my friend!!

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      • No…not alone with my opinions at all! I like Montesorri and considered taking courses to learn the concepts. I did not realize that you would have to adhere to the state policies, but I see that you are in a public charter school! Now I understand! The little children should have time for play and also time to be introduced to the world around them. They are so very capable of large amounts of learning…however, the focus is in the wrong place. That test infuriated me! We lost so much quality classroom time. Plus…three times a year! Give me a break!!!!

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  4. What a fantastic post. You sound like you taught your students something very important about their futures. If we all think back to elementary school we can remember those special teachers who really cared. You are one of those special teachers. 🙂

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