Higher standards allow children to think; to become problem solvers. Sometimes, children are looking for someone to give them the answer. My students know that doesn’t work with me. I make them ask questions. I allow them to think.
I tell them it’s okay not to have the answers, to struggle. I equate it with the butterfly and the caterpillar. I tell kids, “when butterflies are trying to emerge out of the cocoon, it looks like they are having a hard time, but it’s for a purpose. They have to struggle because that makes their wings stronger. If you help the butterfly get out of the cocoon, well, now their wings aren’t strong enough. Now they can’t fly.” Now think about that as an eight-year-old. If I’m giving you the answers, if I am telling you what to do, you will never be strong enough to take on those twenty-first century jobs and have those skills that it’s going to take to get you to the next level.
Higher standards let them become better thinkers. To me, better thinkers are better doers.
Years ago, when I finally got a hold of the new, higher standards, I felt like my teaching life had been made right then and there. It finally gave me the freedom to teach. You can approach the standards anyway you want, so you can help every single child in their own way. That’s what I absolutely love.