By Shawn Jensen. 4th Grade Math. Published at Monday, November 09th, 2020 - 08:34:08 AM.
It should also be noted that my school follows a time allocation chart in which each subject is assigned a specific number of minutes per week by grade level. Lunch, recess, special classes, computer lab time, math, reading, social studies, science, physical education, writing, and rest time are all charted down to the minute. My school has about 350 students, until the spring of each year when we get an additional 50 students who are the children of migrant workers in the local blueberry fields. I consider the school to be medium-size. One of the complications we face each year is that we share our music, physical education, and art teachers with three other elementary schools. Different teachers are at the school on different days. This makes a cookie-cutter daily schedule simply impossible.
Today I dont pretend as much as I used to. I try really hard to be honest with myself and other people. When I find myself slipping back into that weaker part of me (and I do), the "pleaser" part of me, I have to remind myself Im not here to please others, to look good, or to impress people. When Im overly worried about being judged or losing someones love or admiration, it makes it difficult to be real. I also have to keep reminding myself that the purpose of life is not to insulate myself. Im not here to build a cushiony life so I can escape from reality. The point of being given a life is so I can live in it! And that means getting really messy in relationships if need be, in order to work through problems. So we can keep growing, well have to get used to heaping doses of reality.
This was one of the Ah-ha! moments of my life. If these children could not take apart and put together concrete objects as basic as simple inset puzzles, how on earth could they take apart and put together abstractions, such as letters and sounds. Our classroom changed. I kept those opened puzzles in the classroom, and I bought more simple inset puzzles for my students, as well as easy interlocking puzzles with only a few pieces. The students became adept at taking these puzzles apart, then putting them together again to create a predetermined whole. I bought blocks for the classroom, which they put together, then took apart, then put together again in different ways, creating a wide range of things, similar to what we do with letters when sounding out words.
The "rules" and "guidelines" for schools are complex and dictated to them by the prevailing winds of politics, either state, federal or both. How they approach instruction depends on many factors, the most telling being that they have been identified as a "school in crisis". Remediation Remediation has been used consistently in the past but generally is not approved for schools in crisis. The purpose was to work with students at their reading/math level until they mastered the skills allowing them to achieve at the level and pace of their peers. This approach may be appropriate for the child who is slightly behind his class, either because he had a long-term absence or other factors interfered with his learning at the time the skills were taught. The problem with remediation has always been that teachers taught the students the skills for which they assumed the students were now ready. They have not addressed the missing skills (possibly skills that should have been in place years before that teacher ever met the child) that caused the reading/math skills to be low in the first place.
For years and years, I looked for her, Elizabeth from 4th grade and even with the advent of social media I could never find her. Every time Id hear a story about bullying I saw her face and then mine. When I saw the movie Flatliners, I couldnt get her out of my head for a month. I wanted so badly to apologize to this little 4th-grade girl, and I never thought Id get the chance. That is until the other day; there she was by complete accident on a friends Facebook feed. I was scared to befriend her, I wondered if she remembered me, I wondered if she hated me, I wondered if she even cared, I wondered if she had the same childhood memory I lugged around for almost half a century. I tucked fear into the back seat, and then I requested her as a friend on Facebook. In what seemed like an instant she accepted my request. My hands were trembling, and I was afraid. My hope was she didnt remember the incident or me.
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.
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