Rootin’ For the Team

Team Scannell is rocking the house! We are the third grade Spelling Bee Champs and now the third grade Addition and Subtraction Fact Champs. And Coach Scannell (aka Mrs. Scannell, third grade teacher, me!) is incredibly proud of her class. So proud, that we spent a little extra time today reading our class novel; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. So proud, that I might let them talk me into celebrating with a party if we also bring in the third grade Multiplication and Division Fact Champ next week. So proud that…

Ok, maybe I need to do a little explaining.

Our school has held a Spelling Bee, an Addition and Subtraction Fact ‘Bee’ and a Multiplication and Division Fact ‘Bee’ for over 25 years. They are a big deal, let me tell you. Each teacher holds tryouts in their classrooms to select their top 4 for the Spelling and top 5 for each of the Fact ‘Bees’. Then, over the course of about 4 weeks, we hold the competitions on the stage. Parents are invited, faculty act as judges, and prizes (donated by the PTO) are awarded.

And usually, tears are shed.

That’s right, tears! These little kids get so competitive and overwrought that they can break down in tears! And when asked why…

“Ok, what’s wrong?” the teacher will ask.

“I wanted to be in the fact assembly,” the sad reply.

or

“I wanted to win.”

And that’s the crux of the problem, “I want” they all say. I want supersedes “I’ve earned”. It brings out the tears and the jealousy. But not this year! This year there were no tears. There were no, “I wants”. There was something, and it was huge. There was humility, and pride, and support.

When children in our class went ‘down’, they walked off the stage with their heads up. When they were defeated by someone else in our class, they were ok with it. And when one of our students was the champion, they were genuinely happy for him or her. And with one week until the final championship event, my contenders are asking me for extra practice sheets so they can prepare. Wanting to win is lovely, but preparing for the event will nudge you towards that win. Trading “I want” for “I’m going to earn” is the big win going on here this year.

I am so impressed with this group of children, not because they won, but because they are winners. And, win the next championship or not, there will be celebrating.

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