A Teacher’s Heart… I Mean Chart

A story was shared during the dreaded all-day workshop.

The presenter said that a young relative of hers was lucky to be in the kinder class of one of the teachers attending our workshop.

She said that he came home one day VERY excited to tell his family that he was “on pink.” Apparently, he struggled with behavior and had never been “on pink” before.

When asked what it meant to be “on pink,” he told his family that pink was the best color because he was now close to Miss XXX’s heart, so she must love him.

The story ended with oohs and aahs from the admiring teachers. What a precious boy to want to behave well to be close to his teacher’s heart and gain her love.

I was dumbfounded.

On the other days, was he far from his teacher’s heart? Did she love him less because he had trouble following her rules.

Surely, he was not the only one struggling to get to the elusive pink level each day. Are the other kids not in Miss XXX’s heart?

I think this little guy’s interpretation of the behavior chart was exactly the same as that of every single one of his classmates.

Behavior = love.

Bullshit.

Perfect behavior is hard for me, to say nothing of how hard it is for a 5 year old. Following rules is never easy.

Love is unconditional. Even the love that teachers have for their students.

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Text (n) or Text (v): Define me

This week, I attended a full-day workshop with every kindergarten teacher in my district. The first grade teachers had a parallel workshop. Kinder teachers had ELA in the morning and math in the afternoon. First grade teachers had the opposite.

It wasn’t the most helpful day for me. Nothing earth-shattering or new was shared. Pretty much same-old/same-old.

I kept notes on post-its throughout the day as things pushed my buttons. It would have been career suicide to speak up, although I’m well-known for speaking truth to power.

Most of the other teachers at my table agreed that most of the policies and mandates we have been handed are developmentally inappropriate. Nice to know I am not alone.

During the morning’s ELA presentation, we heard the Common Core words “text” and “texts” repeated over and over. We were encouraged to call books, stories and other reading materials, “texts.”

“Students need to learn that term and use it to describe reading material.”

WHY?

Oh, because “text” is the word that EVERY SINGLE Common Core standard uses? And because “text” is the word that STANDARDIZED TESTS use? Example: Find evidence IN THE TEXT to show the author’s purpose. (Don’t even get me started on author’s purpose, which NO ONE can know unless they talk to the author and the author might just say, “Well, what did you get out of the book? Whatever you took away is was my purpose.”

I want my kinders to love books and poems and plays and sentences and words and magazine articles and online blog posts, etc., etc., etc. Not texts.

Here is my post-it “text”: Oh, good GAWD! Teach the word “text” so they can pass a test? NO ONE in real life uses that word to describe books/literature. “Text” is a common term meaning text message (n) or to send a text message (v). WHY do they need “these words” (pedagogical terms)?”

Text as a universal term describing any written language is ridiculous.

A book is a book.

A story is a story. And yes, a book can be a story or a bunch of stories.

A poem is a poem.

Etc. Etc.

I thought we needed to teach kids explicit language?