Friday, September 5, 2008

The Second Day of School

As the new school year begins, I have these big overarching questions hanging over me.  I ask myself and anyone that will listen, What are we doing?  Why are we doing it?  What are we doing it for?  

Big and general yes, but what good are small and specific questions.  These questions came about the second day of school as I was sitting and consoling a crying Kindergartner.  She wanted to go home, normal for immature students.  Because there was only about 40 minutes before the end of the school day, I was going to sit with her and stay until the parents are here to pick her up.  So, is the case with criers, you have to distract them from why they are crying with miscellaneous familiar conversation, What is your brothers name?, How old are you?, Who brings you to school?, etc.  

Over the course of the 40 minutes, this five-year old, on the second day of school, was able to tell me the names of most of her classmates, what students were doubles, two of the same names, who the smart kids were and who weren't so smart.  She came forward with the truth on a few lies she told earlier during her emotionally distressed period, "I lied, I do have friends."  Then the full blown conversation comes forth about family, friends and anything else that comes to mind.  Also, during this conversion, the student says on at least two occasions, that she is bored.  This is the statement that makes me ask the above questions.  

A students, at the age of five, who, on the second day of school has assessed the class and her classmates says she is bored, I have to listen and ask those questions.  Some of the other reflective  questions I ask are, How do we capture and maintain the interest and intelligence of this five year old?  Why is it that students like this in Kindergarten don't have the same kind of verve in the subsequent grades?  What do we do to them?  It reminds me of a quote "Children come to us, in schools, as an explanation point.  And they leave as a period." 

I come full circle and ask those big questions, What are we doing?, Why are we doing it?, What are we doing it for?  Please help me answer these questions.  It is a big dialogue, and I need as much input as you can give me.

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