“Yes, You Are Allowed To Do That!” One Principal’s Mission to Bring Back Play in School


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Let them play.

Every so often I come across a post whose truth needs to be read by as many people as possible. I’m posting this here, I’m tweeting it, and I’m posting to my Facebook page, and I encourage you to link to the story as well. Click the link below for the full post, and thank you Brett Gustafson for sharing this!

by Brett Gustafson As a principal for the last 13 years, I have come to the realization that the biggest threat to the emotional and academic well-being of our children is me – maybe not me persona…

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“Yes, You Are Allowed To Do That!” One Principal’s Mission to Bring Back Play in School

Teach students to care about others instead of measuring how they compare to each other


Heartfelt post about the Test Mess

This post.  Not my work, but it’s what I would have said, though maybe not as eloquently. Read and share if you would-if you know/are a teacher, parent, or student, you know how vital it is to return to the REAL priorities in education…and in life.

 

give it away, give it away, give it away now.


 

“The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life.”

-Jane Addams

“Hey, I’ve got mine.”

“I’ve earned this.”

“Nobody’s taking anything away from me.

“Let them take care of themselves.”

Almost 15 years ago, I was just beginning the single mom chapter of my life. I’d just built a house for my son and myself. Not long after we moved in, my household income took a major hit and I found myself treading water, holding my kid above my head as the sharks circled.  I was thrown a lifeline by someone I’d never even met, the father of a friend.

This man is not an educated man, in the official sense of the word. But he tips the scale on wisdom.

This man worked over 40 years in what would be called an unskilled profession. But he was skilled at his job, and demonstrated a work ethic that was rewarded by his employer as if he was an executive.

This gentleman, in his blue collar custodial job, saved diligently and had put together a nice-sized nest egg for his retirement. In other words, he’d “got his” –and had earned every penny, every accolade, and had every right to enjoy his retirement by taking it easy and looking out for number one.

Instead, he put $1000.00 in a plain envelope and told my friend to give it to me.

My friend had mentioned my circumstances to this hero in passing, and he decided to help. A couple of weeks later he surprised my friend with the envelope, who then floored me by putting it in my hands.

Did I mention that I never had met this man?

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I remember Randall


I remember a small, wiry boy with locs, who bounced into my classroom as a five year old. He sang with gusto, was a class clown, and made me laugh even when he was disrupting my ‘teacher’s flow.’

I remember his big round eyes that took everything in. I remember an infectious, impish grin that showed that he got the joke. I remember him sometimes wanting to sing in my chorus, sometimes not; when he did, all eyes turned to the skinny boy with the big smile and saucer eyes that peeked through the floppy, beautiful locs.

I remember watching him run 5k races with his up-and-down stride that still managed to propel him forward. I remember every hug, every high-five, and every field trip. What I don’t remember is anything in him that would cause him to take his own life before his 20th birthday. Rest in Peace, Randall; I hope you know how much you were loved.

My lessons from this? Always listen to every kid. There’s a girl I spend time with at the school bus stop every morning. She has a habit of telling me every detail of every minute of her life each day, while standing so close that I can feel her breath (if you know me, you know that I’m a toucher/hugger and my personal space cushion is very small, so if this is making me uneasy, you KNOW she’s too close for comfort!). This week I’ve made a real effort to pay close attention to her, to take slow deep breaths when I feel my space encroached and to just relax. I wonder: if a few more people had listened to Randall, would that have made a difference?

It also was, as these tragedies tend to be, a mighty perspective check. Really, when things like this are happening, is whatever I’m worrying/arguing/bitching about really a 10 on the emotional Richter scale? Of course not. Randall’s battle wasn’t about healthcare, partisan politics, talk radio ping-pong, global warming, or who deserved a Nobel Peace Prize. Randall’s battle was about survival, and he lost. So did the world.

Maybe, the next time any of us feel like criticizing someone, making an unkind remark, or flying off the handle about something, we could stop and ask ourselves, “Is this a 10?” If not, maybe it doesn’t need to be released into the universe. Maybe a deep breath, a quick perspective check, and a prayer would restore patience and compassion. Who knows?  That peaceful pause might save a life.

Peace, friends.