Monday, March 14, 2016

Baby Steps in Spring

Welcome back from Spring Break! 

It seems like a cruel joke that daylight savings would have us lose an hour the day before we start back from break. The zombies  kids in the hallway clearly struggled to get to bed on time and wake up for school this morning. 

This is a crazy time in schools because we are headed fast and furious into the season of STAAR. As the weather warms, kids are beginning to feel the summer itch. Teachers are putting on their best song and dance to keep the students engaged through the next 2 1/2 months. 

We have an assembly next week and the theme will be STAR. Not STAAR, just STAR. We are going to encourage our kids to use a growth mindset and be a STAR as they tackle the rest of the school year and upcoming STAAR test. I have some 3rd graders performing a skit and dance about the STAAR test. When I asked how the test made them feel the room went silent and then a few kids murmured how scared they were. 

Soapbox: There is something seriously wrong with putting that much pressure on our kids. 

Instead of dwelling on the unfairness of the test, we can only try to lift their spirits and instill in them the belief that if they work hard and do their best, that is all that truly matters. 

It's not unlike my 3 year old that suffers from separation anxiety. I could chose to harp on her for not fully participating in the birthday party she attended yesterday, or I could recognize the courage it took for her to walk across the gym and sit by her friends after expressing how nervous she felt being in a new place. If I take that moment to encourage her and congratulate her on her effort, she grows. If at that moment I grow frustrated with her for choosing not to participate in the parachute game, she feels failure. We must recognize the effort our students make toward a goal. We cannot expect them all to jump right in a join the game or pass the test. We must build them up and help them to see their accomplishments, no matter how many baby steps it takes.

Just as my daughter taught me this weekend when she looked at me with hope filled eyes and asked if she did a great job at the party... I have a choice in how I respond. My response can make or break her. I asked her how she felt she did- very important. Then, I used the opportunity to tell her that I know she felt nervous and I saw that she used her courage to walk away from "safety" and join the group. Her smile said it all, she had won. She didn't play many of the games or participate in a lot of the activities, but to her, just walking away and not running back into the arms of safety was enough. Did the parachute game matter at all? No. What mattered was that she tried something that was uncomfortable for her and that's a win every time. This is no different from our students academic successes daily. Are they taking risks? Are they challenging themselves to try a little more? That's a win. 

So here we go... off to the races.... let's hope the real message we are trying to send is read loud and clear. 


  1. I LOVE this post! Right on point as always - such a wonderful message to hear this time of year!

  2. Sweet story with your daughter... love the perspective! Thanks for taking the time to write!

  3. Awesome reminder of our REAL goal!!!

  4. Lucky daughter to have that kind of parenting; lucky teachers & kids at your school to benefit from your wisdom. xoxo