No one asked me but…
Considering that a bunch of high-fallutin’, really smart, really accomplished folks are now getting together to concotuate national standards (and you wonder why they didn’t invite me to the party?) I figured I throw in my own 2 cents.
All I ask is that they give me one standard. Just one. The rest, I’ll leave to the professionals.
Standard 1.0: Have fun!
That’s right, have fun. Enjoy your class, enjoy your students, enjoy your work and enjoy your challenges. Smile. Laugh. Tell jokes. Throw open our classroom doors to humor.
After all, these are kids. Diverse, unique, spectacularly special kids who are universally bound by very few universally applicable elements whereby a national model of standards is really going to aptly apply to meet the needs of every kid in this country anyway.
But all kids need to laugh. And all kids love to laugh. And, as someone much smarter than yours truly once said, there is no shorter line between the chasm of two people than a shared smile.
Having fun in the classroom is not a luxury… it is a critical need. People learn better when they enjoy what they are learning. Teachers are more effective when they enjoy what they are teaching. School administrators grumble less when they see kids enjoying school and the teachers enjoying that the kids are enjoying school. Great parents appreciate the value of fun. Great teachers appreciate the value of fun. Kids most assuredly appreciate the value of fun and we will never reach our fullest potential as penultimate technicians of the academic craft (whatever the heck that means — I just stuck it in there because it sounded all erudite) unless we are having fun.
Fun and rigor are not mutually exclusive in the classroom and anybody who thinks so… well, they are a stick in the mud who doesn’t really know much about how best to reach kids.
I’ll say it again… Standard 1.0: Have fun!
It would be a great contribution to American education if we could all recognize its value. And it applies top to bottom across the board in the world of K-12.