June 16, 2011

Testimony to Teaching

Never Would Have Made It Without You...
"Never would have made it, never could have made it,
without you. I would have lost it all, but now I see how
you were there for me." Marvin Sapp

The graduation ceremony at Andrew Robinson Elementary was comparable
to the commencement service of a College/University.  This was the intent
of Crystal Lewis Principal of ARE; from the model
of "College Preparation" that was a motto of the
year for all grades. Incorporating a frame of mind
for college, academic performance and
future acceptance in college. The level of academic
performance and ownership of learning;
the "NOW" No Opportunity Wasted initiative.

Learning is continuous and no opportunity is
wasted to provide instruction. The prominence of
the graduation ceremony inspired the
fifth grade students, parents, family members
and friends to continue high expectations of
success and high levels of academic achievement
for these graduates.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best, "What lies
behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters
compared to what lies within us." Similar words
of wisdom were shared by Fifth grade teachers
expressing their pride, joy and love for the students
and their achievement.

Graduation is a time for celebration of the achievement
of academic success, reflection of the school year
and commemoration by awards, recognition of the
hard work of students; the commitment and sacrifice
of parents and professionalism of teachers. During the
ceremony fifth grade teachers shared tidbits of
information about the struggles, accomplishments
of student; the times of laugher, study and even
times of tears. The hope is during these ceremonies
students understand the dept of commitment teachers
at Andrew Robinson Elementary put forth to prepare
them for challenges they (students) will face, not just
academically during their journey to college, but socially,
intellectually, morally and ethically.

Fifth grade graduations are not just a conclusion to
elementary school, but the closing stages of the
innocence that is found in many elementary school students.
The transition from Kindergarten through Fifth grade
for many students progressed at the same school.
There develops a bonding that extends beyond the
classroom for students and teachers. Teachers become
a part of the families of their student's; in some cases
teachers become surrogate parents of students because
of the amount of contact during each day.

Teaching is not a five day a week job, working
only eight hours, teaching core academic subject
areas. Teaching is a birthing process; the labour of
teaching with strategies, standard, rituals and routines
that must be observed to meet the objectives of each
lesson, the preparation of teachers through
lesson plans guided by state standards, assessment
data, administrative input, differential instruction.
Classroom management skills used to address potential
distractions to the learning environment as students are
guided to self control, self respect and self motivation.
Parental involvement is needed and sometimes
induced by behaviour challenges, academic shortfalls
and the concern of teachers that have high
expectations for all their students. Birth is a
developmental process just as education is; birth
encompasses the physical, emotional, and cognitive
aspects of growth and development. These elements
are the hard work that is involved leading to the birth.

The birth in education comes during the graduation,
when the diplomas are awarded, recognitions given,
experiences shared, prayers answered and appreciation
is given to parents and teachers for their love, sacrifices
and not giving up on students who struggled or who
"just didn't get it yet." The graduation (birth) is shared;
the students are now young adults progressing to the
next level of growth. Elementary school lays the
foundation for students not just at ARE, but at the
elementary level county wide. The memories will last
a life time and more will be added as students move to
Middle, High School and College or University.
Students and their families will move on just as in
other elementary schools, teachers
have completed another year of instruction and
reminded that the struggles are worth
the efforts they put in. That the hard work, long
hours, and sacrifices are justified.

Robert Louis Stevenson statement to teachers,
"Don't judge each day by the harvest you
reap but by the seeds that you plant."
Gain strength and comfort in knowing that teachers
are planting seeds for the future of doctors, lawyers,
scientists, teachers, preachers, Presidents, Mayors,
engineers, and for careers that have not been
discovered yet.

Education, Students, the Youth...
"Without education, you're not going anywhere
in this world." Malcolm X

Please view our graduation photos at:
Photos of ARE Graduation

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