There it is, one of my favorite messages. The year is winding down, and I should be slowing down, like the messages are telling me. I can't. There's a panic inside of me...have I done enough? Are my students ready for the next grade level? Sometimes I feel the pressure of getting every one of my students up to grade level, despite some coming in one to two years below grade level. I try to get them all to the "same place" in 3rd grade. I have a few students in mind that I'm deeply concerned about. They aren't making the progress as fast as the other students. Then, as if it could read my mind, the tree on my campus gave me some advice.
A few months ago, this tree was practically dead. The custodian was ready to pull it out. I even consulted with a teacher on campus who runs our school garden. She seemed convinced that it was dead also. I bent one of the little limbs, and it was still flexible, not the brittle branch of a dead tree. We decided to leave the tree alone, and continue to water it. Slowly, in its own time, the tree began to grow leaves. All of the other more mature trees had already filled out with their new leaves, months ago! This tree just did it when it was good and ready to.
This tree spoke to me today, giving me the best advice. The advice is that children are not all going to bloom at that same speed, and that's ok. I don't need them all to be in the "same place" in 3rd grade at the end of the year. My students are growing at the speed that's right for them... their life, their circumstance, their developmental level, and so on.
There it is, my Advice From a Tree...right on my own campus. I think I will slow down, and enjoy this momentous year's end. What a journey it's been to watch these children grow and mature before my very eyes. Yes, I have done enough.