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Challenge: Open Discussion

This is What Our Kids Need

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“This is how I think,” he says spinning in his chair.

And it is. He spun and spun and stopped when he had the answer and jotted it down.

He’s up and he’s down.

Off to pet the cat or give me a quick hug.

Then back to his wipe-off board to solve another problem.

Then his markers become soldiers in an army.

Then another problem done.

And on and on and on and on.

At home, he has gotten to be himself as a learner.

He reads laying on the couch with half his body hanging off.

And he is able to read harder and harder books and has so much to say about them.

He stays after meetings to chat with his buddies.

And he has a bunch of new friends.

He works on his legos and puzzles during his breaks and eats when he is hungry.

And his creative heart is full and so is his tummy.

He rarely stops moving and he is always, always, always, thinking, and learning.

And I am here for every moment of it, even when I feel like I might pull my actual hair out or lose what is left of my mind.

My heart knows this is what he needs and that is enough.

It is almost over, this time in his learning when we could just breathe and watch it all unfold….while also chasing deadlines and missing Zoom meetings and also wondering why we didn’t birth a child who would sit at a desk like all my stuffed animals did back when I played school.

Or how so many of my own fourth-grade students used to when I wrangled all of them in class.

But how many of them needed to spin?

How many of them needed a quick hug?

How many of them would have read longer if they could have read upside down?

I know they were there. I can see their faces in my mind’s eye. I hope I did enough to give them what they needed.

It’s hard in the world of school.

But these kids and my own troop have gifted me with the knowledge because humans are delightfully different from each other they learn and grow in a bazillion different ways.

It is our job to rise to meet them where they are. We need to see the beauty in how they are all different, even when (especially when), it poses a challenge to the grown-ups.

We need to continue to reimagine what learning really looks like.

Because in so many ways this kid has never learned more.

A pandemic win for sure.

And we need to use what we are learning during this time to transform our schools and our homes so they work for every kind of human.

Because every kid deserves to realize the beauty and potential they have within them.

Even if they are not good at sitting in a chair.


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