Every teacher knows that there are many challenges in education. Challenging curriculum standards to cover, challenging parents, challenging students, etc. Some days just seem harder than others. For me though - I've been lucky. The overwhelming days are few. The challenges are what keep me going. This post is not about the struggles in education though. No. This post is about challenging our students and how it's necessary to do so if we want students to succeed.
A while back I blogged about CBL and how I was so excited about taking this on with my class. My students are working on a project we have coined "The Face of the Playground." The students have been working to improve the playground at Finley Road Elementary School. We've been raising money all year through various fun-raisers. All of the money raised will go toward purchasing the supplies needed for improving certain elements of the playground.
The students first step was to talk with our school's principal, Christopher Roorda, to make sure that all of the projects they thought of were feasible. Once that was completed, the students chose projects that interested them. They are currently involved in research to see what supplies are needed and how much those supplies cost. Some ideas the students are thinking about are: to fix and paint the benches, plant grass seed in the muddy areas, re-surface the blacktop, and fix the basketball court.
We also received a donation of 13 trees (oak, cherry, and apricot) from Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories in Charlotte. The company brought workers to Finley Road to help the students plant, fertilize, and water the new trees! The workers from Bartlett and the students worked all morning in the mud and crummy weather, but everyone had a GREAT time! I couldn't have been more proud of them.
The picture at the beginning of this post is of the student's shoes at the end of the morning. They were disgusting. Seriously. All I could do was laugh. They had worked so hard, how could I be upset? Luckily, I have an intern this year who is in her full-time teaching, so I spent two hours of my afternoon cleaning shoes. It was worth every second. We all made memories that will last for a lifetime. I asked my students to come back and visit me when they are in high school so we can see how the trees have changed. After thinking about it though, I really hope that each one of them does come back to visit, but not just to see how the trees have changed... I really want them to visit so I can see how they have changed and grown.
On second thought, maybe I'm not that lucky. Maybe luck has nothing to do with it. I just love my job, I love my students. Every year is a new challenge. I hope I can continue to help my students grow and experience success. One thing is for certain, whether they know it or not, my students are helping me grow. For this I love them.
My name is Carrie Gaffney. Someone once asked me a question that remains in the back of my mind and helps to shape my life: "How will you be remarkable?" I am continuously trying to discover new ways to answer that question.