We All We Got–We All We Need

“If they’re gonna beat us, we’ll go out fighting. Coach Kapp instilled that in us-100 percent for 60 minutes; never give in until the last second has ticked off. We all held hands after Richard told us what to do. I knew then it wasn’t hopeless.” –former Cal running back Dwight Garner ’85

State Tests started in my classroom today.  And it seemed appropriate to say something inspiring.  Suffice to say that in my 15th year, I still hadn’t figured what to tell my kids before this process begins for them.  Problematically, my philosophical bent against the idea of standardized testing always colored what I wound up saying and whatever eloquence I felt I might have had when I was thinking about what to say would dissipate into a diatribe well above my intended audience.  I was determined not to repeat that mistake this year.

So, I told them about this:

When I finished talking about it, I mentioned to my kids that I had been in the stadium that Saturday afternoon, and, outside of the night I brought home my little girl, it remains one of the most amazing experiences that I had ever personally witnessed.

But then I also told my kids that what I found even more amazing than being there in person for “The Play” was watching all 32 of them demonstrating and using things that *I* had taught to them throughout the year.

“Today, Tomorrow, and next week is about showing off what you’ve learned from me.  I don’t care if you don’t ace this test and not get a perfect score.  That’s not what this is about.  Just be a little bit better than what I already know you can do.  If you can do that for your classmates, and, ultimately, for me, that’s all I can ask.”

I hope they did well today.


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