Wednesday, June 9, 2010


I just got back from a quick trip to visit family and see my nephew's 6th grade graduation.  *Sniff. I can't believe he's going off to junior high in a couple of months. He's an awesome young man and I'm so proud of my brother and my sister-in-law for being such awesome parents. I know some day Mr. Awesome and I will have a lot of questions re: how to raise a son as cool as my cool nephew.

This year I've heard lots of opinions about graduation. My friend who teaches preschool has a family celebration, but refuses to make cardboard hats for her Pre-K kids who are more likely to spill juice on their hats than sit back and have a moment of self reflection such as "hey, my fine motor skills, number sense, and phonemic awareness totally improved this year! I'm SO ready for kindergarten now!" Not that a preschooler shouldn't be proud, but it's not the same as say, an 18 year old graduating from high school who can look back and say, "man, I did it and I made good life choices along the way." Or, say, Mr. Awesome who has been in school since he was five and on Sunday will be walking across a stage in a funny gown.

So where does 6th grade graduation fall in the mix? What about 8th grade? Kindergarten? Personally, I think it really depends on the teacher and the school and the community. I thought that my nephew's graduation was fabulous. Although, as some have pointed out, I am extremely biased when it comes to my nieces and nephew, so perhaps I am not entirely fair. But the ceremony I saw was a great reflection of the school's community and values, honored the students' hard work without acting like it was the end of their academic career, and reflected on how these kids were moving on from being the little guys in elementary school to growing young adults facing all the things young adults face in those places known as junior high and high school.

If I get a job teaching sixth grade, or kindergarten, or fifth grade in a district that is a k-5 elementary school district, I'll have to decide for myself or be forced into helping with graduation. I'll probably be the kind to go all out with paper hats and goofy favors. I think the kids work hard and deserve a celebration. Plus who doesn't like cake and pictures and neat slide shows with corny music? 

Of course, you could look at it in the eyes of my niece (nephew's little sis). It's totally NOT FAIR that sixth graders get to graduate but first graders still have to go to school. 

Yeah, what a jip.

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