Anyone who watches The Masters knows the saying, “The Masters does not begin until the back nine on Sunday.” For those who do not know anything about golf, this saying reflects that fact that the tournament, although 72 holes, is usually settled over the final nine. Of course, we know the first 63 holes are crucial if one is going to win. Too many bogeys or a couple of balls in the creek and you have, no shot!
Education has a similarity. There are many things we want our students to be able to do. Some are deep-rooted in the fabric of school. They must read, write and understand the basics of math. Those skills are a focus of instruction and testing in every school. The tests let us know how we are doing just like par does on the golf course.
Many of those tested items are not the key to a child’s future. They are not the “Back nine on Sunday” of life.
Educators should never lose sight of the traits which help students to be better people. Each day we should nurture and encourage these traits with the same passion we teach reading and writing.
As Albert Einstein suggested,
This week as you pursue the best for your students, don’t forget those items that cannot be tested. For when you see your former students years later, no one will remember the test scores but their life will reflect the passion you poured into them in nurturing the development of key life skills.
All that we do counts, but just like the Sunday back nine at Augusta, some of it counts more than the rest.