There are times when I get caught up in ensuring that Mr.C is “on-track” or “at grade level” with his peers. I get fixated from time to time on the lists lit up upon my computer screen of all the things our local school board says he should know at this time. Lists of facts and figures, books they have chosen, grammatical rules and scientific theories. But no where in their reams of pages does it speak of morals, attitude, creative thinking, leadership skills, ingenuity or honour.
When I get caught up on what he does or does not know academically, I remind myself of the following:
I am not here to create a robot that can spout facts or scientific theories verbatim, but lacks the ingenuity to put them to productive use when he needs or even wants to do so.
I am not here to force him to memorize plots and dialogues, but lacks the critical thinking skills to grasp the significance of some of the literary works of art we currently have access to as a society in general.
I am not here to ensure he conforms to someone else’s standards, but lacks the honour and strength of character to stand up for what is right when what is wrong is being accepted as the status quo.
What I AM here to do is to teach him to (eventually) be a good man. To be the type of person others will be proud to call their friend, their ally. To be someone with enough courage to stand up for what is right, even when he’s forced to stand alone to do so. To be a man of honour, of integrity, to be a man of ingenious leadership abilities, even when he’s only leading himself along his own path.
Don’t get me wrong, I DO teach him academics, but if it takes him a bit longer than some piece of paper says to learn about the periodic table of elements or the correct placements of commas I’m okay with that. Why, because he’s learning SO much more right now, he’s learning how to become the man he will be for the rest of his life.
Plus if he forgets the standard conversion rate of ATP to ADP he can Google it, but when it comes to things like strength of character well there are some things you just can’t Google 😉