Wisdom: Reverb 10

Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?

The best decision I made this year was leaving my old school and making the leap to becoming a third grade gifted and talented teacher.

I was terrified to teach third graders—they’re so…young. But oh man, I do love them. They’re sweet (mostly) and innocent (they still believe in Santa, for example). And they’re funny, really smart thinkers, and interesting.

And although I bit off more than I could chew at the start of the year, they’re growing. They’re living up to my expectations. In fact, they’re surpassing them. Before they get into Socratic Seminar, they vote on which three or four questions they want to discuss, instead of discussing the questions I choose. Now they want to discuss meaty topics, and they’re not afraid to disagree with ideas. For more than four weeks, a student has facilitated the conversation with very little input from me. And they’re learning how to take turns in a large group instead of raising their hands and being called on—it’s incredible to watch 18 eight- and nine-year old students have a massive conversation about topics such as friendship and revenge.

My old school is moving down the street. If I’d stayed there, next year I could walk to school in all of ten minutes. And yet because of the major streets students would have to cross, none of the students who live in our complex would become my students. Sometimes the thought crosses my mind that I should’ve stayed at my old school. But I couldn’t teach there like I wanted to teach. And that’s worth a longer (in-the-car) commute.