Well, it's over. I had a great time and I hope you are satisfied with your child's individual progress this year. I'd like to first thank all you parents for your support; I know there were some departures from traditional-style teaching this year and I appreciate your confidence in the idea that I probably knew what I was doing (I didn't, but that doesn't matter now). At the very least, I hope your child woke up and wanted to come to school each day. To me, the easy part is teaching the material; the hard part is making it fun and making it stick.
Next I'd like to thank all the room parents. You may not believe this, but I can, on occasion, be a tad challenging to work with. I know, you don't believe me, but it's true. So, thanks to everyone who had anything to do with any of our events. And a special mahalo to Mary who did an amazing job wrangling my requests.
And now some advice:
1. Never underestimate the importance of helping your child make positive choices when it comes to choosing friends. The crowd your kid runs with has the potential to elevate or devastate his or her future. This will eventually lead to their choosing of a mate which is perhaps the most important decision of our lives.
2. Read, read, read. My involvement in the SAT Prep Program here at Punahou gives me a unique perspective I think. I can't tell you how many students I tutor in reading that simply can't catch up in order to do well on the SAT Reading section. Students who don't grow up with a love for reading are at a distinct disadvantage, not only on the SAT, but in just about all aspects of their education. I highly recommend your child finish Book 3 of The Edge Chronicles. We're all highly invested in this book series, and there are six more books after Book 3.
3. Take full advantage of all the amazing opportunities this campus offers. From the sports programs to the Luke Center for Public Service, there is always something to become involved with that will keep kids out of trouble and teach valuable life lessons. I just learned of an amazing BizSmart summer school economics class offered to 11 year olds that seems amazing. It's an Iolani-Punahou collaboration that I wish I could enroll in myself.
4. Support your child's interests in technology. If your child shows a talent for iMovie, buy him or her a camera and shotgun microphone. The technology aspect of 4th Grade has put your child in a unique position to become your family's documentarian. I believe the Spring Fling movie shows the power of video capturing memories. There is no doubt that technology will play a huge role in your child's future, so invest in that future when needed. I certainly wish I had edited home movies from my early years.
Please don't ever hesitate to contact me for advice or help in any matter regarding your child. I'll always be your child's 4th Grade teacher and I do feel a future responsibility when it comes to that title. My teachers certainly felt that way and that's why three of them were at my wedding. This is supposed to make you cry, but now I'm teary-eyed. Darn it.
As Kevin Bacon said in Footloose; Hollowman; JFK; She's Having a Baby; Tremors; and She's Having a Baby..."Goodbye."
Check out our classroom blog at http://iws.punahou.edu/user/KSchwengel/2009schoolyear/