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Somehow, with one minute before we had to leave for school one of my son’s shoes went missing. The only shoes that he will currently wear. I searched everywhere as fast as I could. No luck. It was then that I told him he was going to have to wear his brand new Star Wars Crocs. This didn’t go over well.

My son proceeded to cry, scream and have a fit like only toddlers can. I texted my principal to let her know that I was going to be a few minutes late and decided to conduct one last sweep of the house while my son continued to cry while sitting at the top of the steps. Maybe it would turn up.

No such luck!

I gathered my screaming son and the Crocs that he would have to wear and carried him to the car. I quickly buckled him in his booster seat and put the Crocs on his feet. He immediately kicked them onto the floor. So be it. I would deal with that later. If at all.

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Are you freakin' kidding me?

Of all days.

Typical.

Last week I had to take my daughter to get some bloodwork done. Nothing major at all. Just routine stuff. But as you well know, it has to be done in the morning and you have to fast for like a million hours.

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These words were bellowed to the crowd by Russell Crowe’s character in Gladiator after he graphically destroyed every opponent that was put before him in the arena. His words, aimed at the audience, were meant to show his disgust at what was sacrificed at the expense of their entertainment.

I can’t help but think that if I close my eyes, and imagine a voice with a little less bass, that these same words could be spoken by many educators across the country. You see, I feel like many educators feel as if they are jumping through hoops simply to entertain those that hold the purse strings and make the rules. This is the time of year when many educators are preparing their students for a test, administering a test, or simply trying to get their students back into a routine since testing has taken up so much of their valuable time.

Like Russell Crowe’s character in Gladiator, educators do not really have a choice. They must put on a show. Preparing their students for states tests is not an option for them. While their lives don’t depend on the results, their jobs often do. And unfortunately, so does their self-esteem.

This is not to imply that teachers aren’t successfully preparing their students for the tests that they must take each year. Because they are. In fact, many teachers have become quite skilled at this art. But at what cost? Does a high test score mean that a student is ready and prepared for the world they are about to encounter? Or is a high test score often nothing more than just a number? I submit that oftentimes it is the latter. I truly believe that life’s most important tests do not require a pencil.

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I was standing right there!

Jordan had to have known that I was going to see him. That I was going to bust him. Maybe he didn't care. Maybe he had already made up his mind. Maybe there was more to the story.

Like an Avenger or Marvel superhero, he jumped off the bus and roundhouse punched another kid all one motion. But I was right there. And he wasn't getting away with such random violence while I was in charge. Not on my watch!

I grabbed him by the wrist, probably tighter than I should have, and marched him and his victim into my office. Once we were in my office, with the door shut, I laid into him. I mean I let him have it. 

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From that moment on I have done everything in my power to stay close. It is my responsibility to keep her safe and protect her from the world for she is not yet prepared. But she is getting older each day. And it scares me.

What I once could hold with one hand,  I can now barely carry down the stairs. She is growing up and it is beautiful to have a front row seat to such an amazing metamorphosis. I am well aware of the fact that she won’t be mine forever. That I must begin to pull back. Give her space that will soon be hers to create. But it is difficult.

Two years ago we took a family vacation to Disney World. And that is when I, without planning it, allowed for a bit of space to be created. My son and I were leaving the pool in a hurry because he had to use the restroom. I knew she wasn’t far behind us. But she wasn’t with us. Yet, I wasn’t worried. I knew she was capable of gathering her things and meeting us back in the room.

This was space I had never given before. Allowing my daughter to be out of my sight. Away from home. Amongst strangers. But it felt right.

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