And by the way, Viva La End of the School Year.
This week our school got together as a team and discussed children and things that may benefit them next year and what resources they may need that we should provide. Threaded through the conversation a handful of times was that so-and-so had an "inflated sense of self" with the meaning that the kid may be in for some wake up call in terms of college applications and acceptances. I nodded my head in agreement because I knew the kid(s), but then later I started to wonder if we have it all wrong.
I think back to my childhood, and alternately absent and alcoholic and human and goofy as my parents were, they ALWAYS made us feel like we could do anything and why shouldn't we and of course it's possible. Maybe we were living in a (champagne) bubble and other adults were going around tsking and shaking their heads and wondering when our big fall would come. I know my 6th grade teacher despised me and thought I scraped the bottom of the barrel, and I know a few HS teachers and college professors that would scrunch their faces if they knew what I accomplished, but being "bubble girl" (and I now realize "inflated sense of self girl") I still plowed on.
Maybe that's one of the important things we can provide for the kids we teach, "of course you can do it" ... "why not you" ... "don't be silly, it's totally within your reach". This, obviously, has to be sprinkled with lessons on hard work and persistence and grit and the power of failing and getting back up and such. But how sad the alternative would be, a kid looking at you and your shaking head and attitude of "bless your heart" and taking that to heart and giving up on whatever before they even put out their whole effort into the endeavor.
There are students I have who I don't know if they'll "do it", but who am I to decide. And mostly, I hope what comes out of my mouth and heart is, "DO IT" "you can do it" "obviously it's within your reach". I just do this without thinking all year long, but I'm reminded of the power of this when I get a smattering of end-of-the-year cards that state, "thank you for believing in my and not giving up on me". I am also reminded of this when a student, just by happenstance, gets put into a position to shine, and they soar way beyond what we've seen of them before. These may not necessarily be the kids that think they are all that, but whatever "that" is, hopefully I don't, as a teacher, contribute to snuffing it out before it has a chance.