Made a promise. Will keep a promise. I promised my kids that we would hold Community Circle on the first Friday of each month, so today, we will do just that. In truth, it’s a pretty easy promise to keep, for I value it as much as my kids. It, like Smiles and Frowns, is, I believe, among some of the best decisions I have made this year. It is my commitment to community, to culture, to relationships–to kids, not content. Don’t get me wrong. Content is important. It is what I teach. But it is not more important. Kids are more important. They are why I teach. It is they who drive me forth, chasing better. I am not driven by the curriculum. I am not driven by external data. I am not driven by my yearly evaluations. These seek my compliance. I am driven by my kids. They seek my commitment. And so, I give it. I live it.
And, to that end, I have found a better “better” with my “My-Room Standards.” They are my standards. They are the standards that I have set for myself. They reflect, above all, how I want the kids in my room to feel. And it is from here that I make decisions not only about kids but also content. Both. But it starts first with what matters most: my kids. Content follows, but it is still from here that it is considered. These are the standards to which I am committed. I will comply with the state standards, but they make poor acquaintances for they come and go with the wind. Kids come and go, too, but they never really leave. We are bound by our shared experience. And in that I find a great responsibility, a noble commitment. Kids will, by and large, forget what I have taught them. But they will never forget how I made them feel. And I alone am in charge of that. I alone decide how my kids feel in my room, my world. It is to that I am committed. It is by that I am driven.
Recently, at the start of the new semester, I made public that which drives me. They have always floated around in my head, but I decided to make them public, to make them a promise. These are my promises to my kids. These are my promises to myself. Today, I am seeking to satisfy three of my self-standards. Today, I will use Community Circle to make good on my promise that in my room, kids will feel connected, valued, and respected. No text-evidence today. No themes. No parallel structure. No rhetorical appeals. Just people talking to each other, listening to each other, and learning about each other, so we can feel connected, valued, and respected. Just that. Nothing more. A simple promise.
Along today’s trail we will…
…speak, listen, and learn through Community Circle.
..end with a Sappy Sy Rhyme.
Happy Friday, all. Have a great weekend.
Do. Reflect. Do Better.