We could have a pretty lively debate over what is the most important thing we teach kids: Reading, math, science, social studies, chemistry, music, art, physical education, etc., but while these are all important to a well rounded education, they don’t hit the bullseye.
In my opinion, the most important thing we teach kids are life lessons. These are the intangible things that are not generally found in a text book, but are so important to being a healthy human being. These are taught and hopefully modeled by most teachers, and the excellent ones are those that make them personalized to each student wherever they are emotionally, mentally, and physically.
Think about it. What is more important than teaching some core values to kids that they may or may not get at home? Hopefully, the parents are doing their job too, but as we all know, there are many kids who come from some pretty jacked up situations, and we are left to figure out how to help them put the pieces together again at school.
When we teach kids to be loving, kind, forgiving, empathetic, how to be respectful, how to have self-control, how to be a friend to someone that is isolated, how to be accepting of people with different skin color, different religion, different beliefs than our own, aren’t these the things that make us ready to go into the world and be a whole person?
I don’t minimize the 3Rs and all the other courses that are taught, but without the life lessons, we are sending out kids to do battle without the full armor they need. Let’s do our part as teachers and give them every opportunity to succeed.
P.S. Outside of life lessons, I think reading is one of the most important subjects as all the others tend to hinge on it in one way or another. One thing I learned in high school that I never thought I would use was typing, and yet I have used that skill almost every day of my life since then. Who knew that would be a critical skill? Probably only my typing teacher knew for sure.