What is a candle’s true purpose?

An educator educates. They teach young people content, skills and attitudes. But is their main goal simply to be able to give out a bunch of A’s on report cards? And if so, should it be?

As a student, I gauged my success by the grades I earned. Everything else I gained from going to school paled in comparison. Perhaps I wasn’t even aware of the other ways that my teachers were shaping me to be a good citizen of the world.

Now that I’m a teacher, it’s easy to fall into the trap of being grade-focused. https://ateacherislikeacandle.wordpress.com/2015/07/01/are-grades-killing-student-motivation-to-learn/

But, looking back over my teaching career, there are some things I teach that I consider more important than the marks I write at the top of test papers.

Manners, kindness and empathy top the list. Kids can be taught the emotional intelligence of respect for others.

Collaboration and disagreeing respectfully are also up there. This involves students finding out firsthand how changing their perspective is a sign of learning; a sign of growth.

Resilience and perseverance are a close third. What children deem as failures are redefined as steps on a long and exciting learning journey.

Independence and initiative come next. I show my classes how to be upstanders rather than bystanders, how to get their questions answered when the teacher is busy, how to decide when to take action and when to ignore.

Ultimately, a Candle should aim to mould those under their tutelage to be good people, not just good learners.


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