This time of year, it never fails. I sit back during E.Q.A.O. and think about the time I’ve had with my current class. Nine months have flown by so quickly and it’s partly because it’s been fun (nonsensical chats about YouTube videos or movies we’ve seen), but also because it’s been busy. We essentially have to cram all the math units ahead of everyone else because those skills will likely be tested. We were reviewing last week for the provincial tests we have here in Ontario. In elementary school, the Grade 3’s and 6’s feel that E.Q.A.O. (Education Quality and Accountability Office) actually stands for Evil Questions Attacking Ontario. I can’t say they are completely wrong. As much as I hope they’ve learned their equations for surface area and volume, I also hope they walk away with more.
I hope they’ve learned that their first impression on someone matters and they hold their actions accountable. People see them at the park, mall, or classroom, and it’s natural for them to be judged. I always want a supply teacher to leave me a note about how patient or kind my class is. I want them to remember to always be respectful and polite because “please” and “thank you” go a long way. I’ll always remember the kids in here who remember to say those words each time I handed out a sheet or passed them a book (Students #21, #23, and #25, that’s YOU!) As important as writing proper sentences are, I believe that watching what you say and how to speak to others is just as vital. Will my kids remember that our custodians contribute to the school like secretaries do? Will they recognize that Educational Assistants give their all like their homeroom teachers do? Do they see these adults in the school as all loving their jobs and being committed 100%? Do they appreciate us? I hope so.
Although I have put a huge emphasis on academics this year (“aim for Level 4” and “try your best”), it is never far from my lips that I tell them “be mindful” and “think of others first.” Being a great student is wonderful, but being an awesome human being is a life skill. Who you are is shaped by your family, friends, and environment, and I would want students to remember that having integrity and kindness is not a Grade 6 thing. I think it’s forever. (I know they also enjoy it when I tell them to “use common sense” and “you can just eyeball it.” 😛 That’s you, #4 and #9!)
It’s been a good year. This class is full of great kids. I’ve been telling everyone that the year has been good partly because I haven’t had to spend too much time solving social problems. Less drama this year so I can focus on teaching. I’m grateful for this class and the memories we made. No doubt there will be tears on the last day (my former students know this and some tease me while others just cry along), but really, it’s because they have truly become “my kids.” I hope they know we only have 24 more school days together and I look forward to each and every one!