In a time of high stake testing, it can feel like we are being asked to say and do things according to the script of the NYS Education Department. This is why when we saw this quote, we were immediately drawn to it. As thoughtful educators, we shouldn’t be focused on the “what” (content) but instead we should be focused on the “how” (process). It is our charge to build self confidence, independence, nurture curiosity, while providing security for risk-taking. We set the stage for collaboration, and stoke problem solving techniques . The thing that will leave a lasting impression and change a child’s life is the way we make the child feel. Every child is a learner, an expert, a reader, a writer, an innovator, an activist, a problem-solver, an ambassador for change. Nothing is more vital to our future than creating citizens who feel like they are successful, capable, innovative and able to change the world.
When you focus on the “how”, the results you will see are amazing. Here are a few of our results:
- Children taking a book out to recess to read in place of other traditionally fun activities
- Children initiating writing groups to write books and stories together during their free time (spreading the love of writing)
- Children sharing about text we have read to their friends and parents (reading is contagious and something to be celebrated and shared)
- Children so invested in debates that they continue to voice their opinion days later
- Children being activists by making posters, writing letters and trying to persuade others to see things their way
- Children coming up with creative solutions to problems within our classroom and school
- Children connecting the activities we do in class to their own lives outside of school
Where does accountability lie? For teachers our first measure of accountability is to the local communities we serve. We do not work in a bureaucratic void. We understand full well, that education is a public trust, and this is exactly why we are attempting to do this work. To grow a future society that will think critically and feel empathy. Children are more than data points they are complex beings and we are their guides – understand that their questions are better than ours and their ideas will yield more value than a static score ever could. Creating classroom environments that set the stage for authentic learning helps make children feel like they can do anything. That is what we need for the future.