Our 5th grade promotion ceremony at Moore is coming up, just two weeks away, in fact. I decided that I wanted to give an opportunity for the fifth-grade students to decide who they would want to represent their class up on stage to make a speech during the ceremony. We had a vote and they selected outstanding students who truly represent the character and work-ethic that we promote.
I met with this group of students this week to begin composing their speeches. I discovered quickly that their memories at Moore and the topics they wanted to write about all had a common theme: people. Not surprisingly, their fondest memories involved a favorite teacher or a group of friends. The remembered both the good and bad moments, but the memories always had those who touched them. Most frequently, it was moments in time that they discussed. "The time that ..." or "I remember when ..."
Even at a young age, these students are reflecting upon their life through those who impact them. You know what did not show up in any of their speeches? The worksheet that they had to finish or the video that they had to take notes on. It's relationships that mattered most to them. As educators, I think this speaks volumes to what we should be valuing in the classroom. A solid academic experience is vital, but it is the relationships that will be carried on with our students as they look back on their time in school.
As my district prepares to take their state assessments this coming week, I cringe thinking about how my school, staff and students, will be measured by a number. Sadly, many individuals will gauge the success of this year on a number. But, I promise you that number does not tell the relationships that exists in those classrooms, it does not tell the cultural changes we have done this year, and it does not tell you the moments and memories that students will carry with them. As my buddy Todd Nesloney frequently states, we are more than just a number!