Recently I was visiting/mentoring in a school and a sincere, somber second grader said, "School's getting more "complicateder." When I was littler, I used to just have fun and get stuff in my head, like, BOOM! it was just there like sight words and stuff, but now I have to really think hard to learn stuff, and it's just "complicateder" to learn all that stuff."
She didn't even wait for my response before she said, with the brutal honesty only a child can muster, "I think it's cuz my other teachers liked it when we had fun. They laughed and smiled a lot."
OUCH! Not a teacher among us would question the well-researched fact that children learn best when they are having fun (read that engaged in activity that makes sense to them). Why are we so reluctant to also accept the well-researched fact that teachers are more effective instructors when they, too, are engaged (read that motivated by the content and finding pleasure in the kids)?
In this 21st century worlld of standards, assessments, accountabililty, budget restraints, expanding responsibilities, and public scrutiny, we could easily lose sight of why we stay in teaching. It certainly isn't for the salary, the ease of the job, or the prestige. We need to regularly take a breath, look at the kids, close the door, and enjoy. We don't teach programs, curriculums, standards, or textbooks. We teach little humans, and that should bring a smile.