As a first grade teacher, I value turning kindergarteners into second grade readers, writers, mathematicians, and thinkers. That's understandably essential to the futures of these little people who will one day be the very ones who influence the success of this planet. I'm torn though, especially because of one little person. It's difficult to admit, but I will not be able to transform him into the academic student he needs to be for second grade and beyond. I'll do what I can, but I already know it won't be enough. My lack of hope for his academic future of course bothers me, but here's where I'm torn. It doesn't bother me nearly as much as my concern for his future as a caring citizen of society. I can deal with the fact that he still doesn't know his letters and numbers. I can't deal with the fact that on a daily basis he doesn't know how to treat others and shows no effort to learn how. I'm left asking myself, "What do I value?" As his teacher I will not give up on him academically, but if at the end of the year he walks away with character only, I will consider myself successful.
(Agree? Disagree? I welcome your thoughts.)