Monday, May 2, 2011

How much do we forget?

How much do we forget?

My dad and I love to watch game shows together.  One that we used to watch pretty frequently is Jeff Foxworthy's "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"  My dad has always insisted I should go on the show.  I've always refused. Why? Because I don't have enough confidence in myself to believe I could win if I went on the show, and I obviously don't want to get on the show, stand up there and say, My name is Amy Green.  I'm a middle school teacher, and no, I'm NOT smarter than a fifth grader.   Obviously, I'm smarter than the average fifth grader as far as reasoning, life skills, and basic knowledge.  However, I'm sure that I've forgotten many of the minute details.  Every now and then, a question on the show stumps me.  

Earlier this week, I was spending time with some of my favorite campers.  These are children I met through Camp Happy Days, an organization that provides support to kids with cancer and their siblings.  They're great kids, and I got to spend an entire day hanging out with them while their parents were at work.  We baked and decorated cookies for Santa and our own enjoyment, had a feast of a lunch from Chic-fil-A, watched a movie, hung out, played and talked together, and, most relevant to this blog post, played school. I got to be the teacher.  Not something new to me, but hey, whatever made the kids happy.  The girl I was playing school with is in first grade this year.  We played for well over an hour.  At one point, I was "teaching" math.  We did some basic math problems, but then my "student" asked me to give her some patterns to try.  I did my best.  She pronounced them, "Easy!"  I then asked her to make me some patterns to show me what hard patterns would be like.  Safe to say, I would have failed that first grade math test.  Those patterns kicked my butt!

This really made me think: if I've forgotten so much about patterns and the foundations of my math skills, what else have I forgotten?  How much of what my teachers taught me have I forgotten? Have I remembered the things that are actually important? As a teacher, WHAT are the most important things for me to teach my students?  How often do I forget the little moments that remind me why I teach day after day?  Beyond school, how many things that should be cherished have I completely forgotten about? 

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