There were scores of things I didn't know 22 years ago when I received my teaching certificate. Recently I've pondered one of the most obvious. My limited view of curriculum consisted of reading, writing, math, science, health, and social studies. I admit to being clueless as to the importance of character development in the classroom. I'm unsure of whether that was a product of ignorance, my undergrad studies, societal needs and expectations, or all of the above. But there's been a gradual and pivotal transformation from those first years that's expanded my role as the teacher of six-year olds. Twenty-two years later I realize there's not enough time in the day to teach them simply how to be who they were meant to be.
This year I feel an even greater urgency than usual to turn my little ones into readers, writers, mathematicians, etc. They have a great need for these skills, but at the same time, I'm overwhelmed with the job of helping them find their potential in character. One morning in December I was reminded of a scripture that sums up my heart's desire for these kids (all kids).
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works. - Hebrews 10:25
Putting religious beliefs aside, it's difficult to dismiss the truth and value of this thought for the 21st century classroom. The world looks different than it did 22 years ago, and content knowledge alone will not prepare my students to be part of it.
Stir. Stir. Stir.