A few weeks ago I filed the last of my students' report cards, piled boxes of picture books and math games into my trunk, cleaned out my work mailbox, and hugged my coworkers goodbye one last time.
Having wrapped up my career as a third grade teacher, I've recently done some reflecting and thanking God for all of the things He and my 75 little people taught me the last three years. Here are the 20 most significant:
1. The Holy Spirit is the best teacher.
2. Kids know when you really like them.
3. If a teacher believes her students can do something exceptional, they will. Kids live up (or down) to the image you project onto them.
4. Kids learn more from watching a teacher model something than they do from the teacher's direct instruction about the subject.
5. "Aha!" moments happen when teachers ask questions instead of give answers.
6. One of the most important parts of a teacher's job is encouraging and re-teaching kids to imagine.
7. The spontaneous, daily teachable moments stick with kids way longer than planned lessons. It's OK to set the curriculum aside to live life with your kids.
8. If you catch a kid picking his nose, pretend you didn't see it.
9. Students who read a lot typically have bigger vocabularies and are better writers than kids who don't read much.
10. It is impossible to raise healthy, stable kids without creating and consistently reinforcing boundaries.
11. Students feel the safest and are the most motivated when their environment is very structured, and their authorities are consistent and fair.
12. It's always a wise idea to have a stash of chocolate on hand for those 7-hour days that take 14 hours to pass. :)
13. A good sense of humor is incomparably more valuable in the classroom than any educational training. And kids like to laugh with their teacher. A lot.
14. If you compliment a student publicly on his helpfulness, the rest of the class will be over-the-top helpful for the rest of the month.
15. Reality is iconoclastic. When kids begin to understand that they are loved relentlessly by the Creator of our marvelous universe, their minds become enthralled with him.
16. Poor parenting--not our educational system--is the primary reason we have so many under-performing, morally confused students.
17. A powerful way to fight our culture that devalues human life is to cultivate a culture in the classroom that celebrates life.
18. Nothing shreds a kid's soul like divorce. Nothing.
19. Kids are the best philosophers, theologians, and apologists. They haven't yet been conditioned to not think critically (because our educational system is dulling their minds); they ask probing questions and have sound logic. Never underestimate the cognitive abilities of an eight year old!
20. The goal of education is human flourishing, and the Bible is the only inerrant, infallible, tested and true handbook for successfully accomplishing this goal.
Thanks, kiddos, for three very rich years of growth and memories. I will miss you.
© by scj