At a recent trip to the store, I had a chance to meet a student that I had in my kindergarten class nearly two decades earlier. In the coarse of our short conversation I asked him what he remembered about our class. Without hesitation he responded with"Those Unforgettable Truths"! I fully expected that answer, because I get it almost every time I get to ask that question to former students of mine. There was no escaping these "Unforgettable Truths" in any of my classrooms for the four decades I taught in inner-city schools. My walls were posted with these "Truths". These 'Truths" went home with all newsletters and reminders. I made it a personal endeavor to mention each of these truths at least seven times each day either directly or indirectly. They were forever a part of our daily classroom conversations. To an outsider these constant reminders may have seemed quirky or silly, but it worked. It worked to the result of 75% of my Kindergarten students year after year making the academic honor roll the following year in first grade. It kept the children constantly "checking" their behavior and attitudes. It made a difference that stuck with them, yet it was so profoundly simple. Even with the fact that 40% or more of my kindergartners initially came to my classrooms not being able to identify a single color. 75% had never held a crayon or a pencil, swung on a swing, or had been read to. Yet the vast majority of these children left my kindergarten classroom as life long learners. These "Truths" became the norm for their own classroom expectations.
These were my "Unforgettable Truths":
STOP...THINK...MAKE A GOOD CHOICE
ALWAYS DO YOUR BEST
NEVER GIVE UP, TRY, TRY AGAIN
NEVER KEEP OTHERS FROM LEARNING
Any teacher should be able to come up with a better list of "Unforgettable Truths" for their own classrooms. My students couldn't escape them. My students apparently couldn't forget them.
Robert John Meehan
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