Last night I went to the Greenfield Center School‘s Variety Show. I was witness to the most talented, creative and lovely acts ever – musical acts put together by children of all ages, and in many cases written by them. They played and sang music with each other, with family members, and with their teachers. At the heart of each number was real and true respect – for each other, for their craft, for their audience, and for themselves.
In one act, the smallest children in the school got up on stage to move to a song sung by their teacher about being birds. You could hear a pin drop, and then when it was over, the audience signed their applause so as not to startle the Little ones. Not an older child in the room called out or broke that respect.
This is the way education could be, and is, when teachers like these model respect, kindness and love. I could rant, at this point, about all the research we have, and the facts we know, about how content will be easiest learned with respect and relationships at its heart (and don’t even think about standards issues).
The evening’s relationship to my retirement was because I sat there knowing that my days as a full-time teacher were over. And, although I plan to work with young children in some capacity, volunteering to read and, perhaps, subbing now and again; I’ve had my turn in the classroom. I loved it. I have always missed it since I moved to adult education. And, I applaud it.
These teachers do not get the respect they deserve from their communities. Please know that I am giving it to you — always, in my heart, soul and mind. I applaud the work you do. Enjoy every second. It will one day be your turn to watch. I was so moved by watching you. I was moved by the knowledge that the children in your care are learning so much from you. Thank you.