By Marci Horne. 4th Grade Math. Published at Monday, November 16th, 2020 - 14:21:11 PM.
Letting Go Letting go means standing aside and allowing life to happen without my trying to control it. This has been (and some days still is) a completely foreign concept to me, because I was raised by a single-parent who was an abuse survivor. She taught us to stand up for ourselves and never be walked on. She taught us to speak up for ourselves. She also taught us to have a really good "BS meter." All important things if you want to feel in control and not be taken advantage of. What I didnt learn is how to flow with life: how to stand back, detach and be the observer, allowing others to do whatever they are going to do, and not attempt to control, manipulate or change the outcome. In short, I was programmed since childhood to defend myself really, really well. So while I have been described as a strong person, an intelligent person, and a capable person, nobody has ever described me as a particularly agreeable person, a gentle person, or a "go with the flow" kind of gal. Quite the contrary, Ive been described as a "take charge" kind of gal. This was brought to my attention again recently in a radio interview I did. I wanted so much to say what Id planned to say that the poor host literally couldnt get a word in edgewise. I battle with letting go and letting life spontaneously happen more than most folks, because I was abused as a child by one parent, and then taught to fight back by the other. There was no balance between the two extremes. When you think about it, letting go is all about trust. Its trusting that we live in an abundant and benevolent Universe. Its trusting another person to be there for us and catch us when we fall. Its trusting that I am in fact "good enough," regardless of what seems like evidence to the contrary. Its trusting that its okay to make mistakes because Im human. Its trusting that most of the time Im safe and not in danger, contrary to what my alarmist brain would have me believe. Letting go is the polar opposite of control, and its whats required if were going to reclaim our life. I am certain of this, because it wasnt until I let go of my idea of who I was (a mental health counselor) that I could finally see myself for who Id become (a suicide survivor). Seeing myself for who I really am has not been easy or comfortable, but ultimately its made my life healthier and happier. We are who weve become, not who we think we are.
Suddenly the weaker part of me that had wanted to downplay and make excuses for her behavior had to face a very harsh reality. I was horrifyingly thrust into the truth, because theres no way to downplay a tragedy of this magnitude. My denial was instantaneously "outed." Once you see that youve been denying whats true, or in my case, pretending it "wasnt as bad" as it seemed, youre swamped with guilt. Regret, blame, disgrace, self-condemnation and failure pull up a chair and take root in your psyche, becoming your unwanted constant companions. Once youve been "outed" in such a big way, its time to admit to yourself (and others) what you did well, but also where you dropped the ball and retreated. Whether its a failed friendship, a failed relationship or marriage, or having failed as a parent, life always gives you the opportunity (yes, I said opportunity) to step out of pretense and back into reality.
Sometimes I really hate my ego. Ive studied spiritual teachings enough to know that what drives us to control is the ego: that over-analytic, judging and critical left brain which is always on guard, eager to squash our enthusiasm, and which doesnt give spontaneity and creativity much of a chance to blossom. Sometimes I really hate my left brain, too. Even though we need it for survival, it can sabotage our most earnest efforts to be open, spontaneous, flexible and honest. The ego is very wary of honesty. It sees it as a weakness, and would rather we respond in safer, pre-programmed sorts of ways. Honesty is risky business for the ego, because we might look foolish, stupid or weak, so the ego avoids situations that could create discomfort. The ego is what causes us to reduce, to shrink, ask for less, and to settle. It reasons: at least if I settle Im not out of my comfort zone. If the ego had its way it would tuck us into bed and keep us there forever, everyday nearly the same, nothing allowed in that would rock our boats. Sterile, yet safe. Though youve probably realized by now that playing it too safe is a recipe for failure.
Intervention Intervention is usually something touted as what will help schools in crisis. The current wave of instructional approaches are called "Response to Intervention" or RTI. This approach uses programs that have been "researched" and "proven effective", a major component of the No Child Left Behind approach to education reform. Regardless of what level the instructional needs of the child are, the teachers read directly from scripts developed for the research that proved the approaches to be effective and use materials, activities and text passages designed to go along with those scripts. The point of it all is to focus attention on an instructional process that has been already been effective. The problem is that the assignments may be correctly executed, but they may still not be understood or mastered by students. The primary reason that students do not achieve under this approach is that what is being taught is developmentally too difficult for them to master. They may memorize every word, every fact, but the rote memorization cannot be applied to similar words or facts in different situations. The problem remains the same: children are not always developmentally ready for what schools narrowly presume the "average child" should master. The 4th grade student reading at 2nd grade level experiences the 4th grade materials. Is that child likely to read above 2nd grade after this type of instruction? It is highly unlikely, because the original problems concerning readiness remain. Prevention
Often, the instructional year is looked at in isolation. 5th grade teachers only look at 5th grade curricula, 3rd grade teachers only look at 3rd grade, 8th grade teachers only look at 8th grade, etc. Rather than planning your academic year based on your textbooks only, consider looking at your academic year as one "leg" in a relay race. Its your job as an educator to cover the skills, strengths, "speed," and accuracy of the leg youre on, as well as the hand off to the next leg in the race. Using backwards educational goals makes this much easier, and the scope of your classroom instruction will be much more thorough.
An example of remediation in reading is when the child is chronologically in the 4th grade but reads at the 2nd grade level. Remedial instruction presents the student with materials written at the 2nd grade level and has the child read them. The problem is that the child may not have the decoding skills for vocabulary or the language skills to understand the complex sentences of anything written above 2nd grade level. Both of these problems are typical of special education children and have the root of the problem in skills that most children master at 4 and 5 years of age. Unfortunately, the assumptions made by most people in education are that everyone is equally ready for school by the time they enroll in kindergarten.
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