We've been reading folk tales, legends, fables, and so forth the past couple of weeks. A few days ago, we read "The Three Cabritos." I had decided we needed to read "Three Billy Goats Gruff" and do a comparison. I read the book the students (and adults). My kids told me some similarities and differences. The we moved on to prepare for lunch.
One grandfather came up to me and told me that he had heard his own first grade teacher read the same story...60 years ago. He told me her name and some other memories of her. His comments got me to thinking. Our year is winding down. We've had challenges and fun times. I began to think about what I hoped my class would remember and take away from this year.
I hope they think of their first grade teacher as an adult who listened to them. I tried to have times they could just talk, both individually and in our group meetings. When there was a problem, I tried to take a child aside and listen to what was happening, what was in their heads. I didn't do this every time, or even as much as I should probably. I did use my loud voice at times. I did say, "Not now" from time to time when they wanted to say something. But I tried to have an overall atmosphere of listening and talking. I hope they remember that and not the other stuff.
I hope they remember that making mistakes is okay. And, when we make mistakes, we do what we can to fix them. I hope they remember the times I admitted my mistakes and worked to correct them, and forget the times I didn't. I hope they know that mistakes are not the end of everything, that mistakes are part of learning and part of risk. That trying and thinking and doing and experimenting (no matter if you're wrong) are important parts of life.
Ultimately I hope they know they are capable...and cared for. Cared for because of the individuals they are and not for what they know or do. (I've learned the same lessons from them.)