I look out at my Grade 5 students, all lined up to come in from the snowy outdoors. We have had an unexpected dump of snow and they love it. Their faces are rosy and smiling — the air around them charged with the energy and excitement of curious inquiry. These kids know that once their snow gear is off, important work begins. The Grade 5s trust me to foster the growth of that thriving potential bouncing around inside their bodies and I commit to do that every day.
The teachers have had something unexpected, too… a lunch time meeting to go over the ‘proposed’ changes the government wants to make and their methods to get what they want by, yet again, misleading the public and misrepresenting the teaching profession. But my frustration with that will have to wait, though. The most important people in the education process are waiting and their needs come first.
My kids and I have worked hard all year to build a strong sense of community within our classroom and our building. They understand the importance of integrity in a relationship. They know that to foster a collaborative working environment, we need to fully participate, show appreciation for others’ contributions, demonstrate mutual respect and engage in creative problem-solving.
The Grade 5s are the leaders in our school, and as such, they know that the privilege of leadership comes with responsibility. They are beginning to exercise self-regulatory behaviour and reflection. When working with others, the fifth graders do their best to employ the protocols of dialogue versus debate in order to come to a consensus, where each party’s ideas are justly represented.
The fifth graders know how to establish the meaning of words like, democracy, negotiation and bargaining. They can then connect those words to a larger context in order to attain a greater goal. My Grade 5 students know how to use powerful questions to further the process of inquiry and adapt their thinking for a deeper understanding.
I wrote this letter for my profession, my colleagues, the parents, and most of all, for my kids. I want them to know that what we do here is important work and I value them and their efforts in our journey together. So it is for them that I pose this question to the BCPSEA ‘bargaining’ team that represents the government, after reading all the things Grade 5 students know how to do.
Are you as smart as a fifth grader?