Rachael Rachael, a mom of two daughters, is a freelance editor and writer who enjoys gardening and dreams of keeping chickens in her suburban St. Louis backyard. In her spare time, she helps to edit her husband’s science fiction books. Read more of Rachael's work at www.rachaelsjohnston.com or contact her by emailing rachael@mumblingmommy.com.

School is in session where I live. My oldest daughter just started third grade. This week we carried on with our now much-familiar ritual of waking early, breakfasting, packing the lunch bag, and walking to school. As I hugged her and snapped a picture before watching her walk into the brick building, I thought of my hopes for this year.

My school year wish list:

That my daughter will continue to nurture her love of reading and discover many new good books, because if you can read, you can learn and do anything.

That my daughter will enjoy learning for its own sake, and not because it’s something she is compelled to do.

That my daughter will respect and admire her teacher as a positive role model.

That my daughter will grow through hard or unpleasant experiences like conflict with peers, learning the multiplication table, and walking to school on a cold winter morning when she’d rather ride in the car.

That bullies will learn they cannot get away with bad behavior.

That lawmakers would fully fund our schools, and that there would be money and ample time allotted for the arts.

That we would stop obsessing over standardized tests.

That when my daughter takes the state test for the first time this year, she will be able to relax despite the hype from grownups obsessed about everyone’s scores. I hope she will realize these tests are not something to worry about for kids like her who do well in school. In fact, they can be kind of fun. (At least they were for me as a kid.)

That teachers would be appreciated and trusted to do what they have been trained to do, and that they would not be scapegoated when some students don’t perform up to standards because of outside factors like poverty or home and family issues.

That teachers – and the administrators who set policy – will ease up on assigning homework to elementary students because research shows it doesn’t do much good and, worse, may be counterproductive.

That recess will happen more frequently because children learn better when their bodies have plenty of time to be active.

That children would be allowed to learn at a developmentally appropriate pace, and that kindergarten would once again be a place that is friendly to the youngest of learners, without pressure to master academic concepts earlier than is prudent.

That kids who don’t receive enough love, food, and basic necessities at home will be identified and helped.

That my daughter will grow in understanding and empathy as she attends school with children who come from different economic, religious, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds.

That families would not be afraid to send their children to racially, culturally, and economically diverse schools.

That we will have a few really spectacular snow days, but not so many that the school year gets pushed into the month of June.

That we will lose a minimum of mittens and hats.

That there will always be nacho day once a month in the cafeteria.

That we have a great year overall.

Happy new school year to all.

Photo credit: flickr.com

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Category: Education

Tags: Rachael