This I Believe
There is nothing like the noise of a buzzing schoolyard at recess. Bursts laughter and energy, rules of a particular game, basketballs hitting the pavement, counting hop-scotch squares and picking-up jacks all amount to a child’s favorite part of the day. (Excluding, of course, the occasional knee scrape or ego bruise.) This madhouse is a daily occurrence for American teachers. And I am one, among many, who is responsible for your child between the hours of 8:30am to 3:30pm everyday. I watch as your children create intricate and imaginative games that require an immense amount of thought and focus. It is at recess where our future is at their best, and most thoughtful. On a normal day I might with hold my inner child, and simply observe. But today, I am taken over, and I decide to give the old pogo stick a go. After one poor attempt, my “go” turns into a crash landing. As I hit the pavement, a roar of laughter surrounds me. But it is in their laughter at recess that I forgive their behavior in the classroom. I smile, and a few of my students have stayed long enough to help me back on to my feet. Ironically, it is those who stayed that challenge me the most in the classroom. One offers me reassurance, “Ms. Hannah, that’s okay- you just have to practice- Ms. Hannah,” “Thank you Davis, I’ll keep that in mind.” It is nice to have no immediate expectations or implications of failure. Instead of the prospect of failure, I was given a prospect of success. A healthy dose of child innocents, one might presume. But instead, in this moment, I see the potential pain and awareness in a child of today. The inferred disappointment by parents, experts and even teachers, because of their student’s lack of immediate success in the classroom, troubles me. And it troubles your children. Labels such as ADD, ADHD, Autism and Dyslexia bare a stigma counter- productive to a child’s potential success. Everyday, Davis, a student who validated my potential to succeed, experiences a series of minor successes usually based off of pervious failures. But for Davis, the playground is calming. While other children run and play wildly, Davis sits calmly next to me while he indulges himself by telling me fantastic, and focused stories. If there is any doubt among adults or specialists that a child diagnosed with ADD, ADHD is capable of focus, or leadership, the playground offers excellent evidence to the contrary. It is my dream as an educator that one day your child’s playground alter ego shows up in the classroom- creative, articulate, and focused. If children are allowed to be serious about the business of play, someday they might find the play in serious business. This I believe.
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