Fifth Grade: Big Dreams in Their Hearts

Today I sat at my back table during recess and listened. Three boys and three girls huddled around a group of desks and discussed their futures while they graded papers instead of going outside to play.

“Which college do you plan to attend?”

“What do you want to do when you grow up?”

I was just as amazed by their questions as I was by their answers. Children who will be the first in their families to go to college, some of whose parents work for minimum wage, answered in detail. They offered the names of obscure colleges, ones which require actual consideration instead of the obvious “Harvard because I’ve heard it’s the best” or “Sac State because it’s here.”

“I plan to be a lawyer,” said a boy who likes to argue. I often question whether he hears me when I tell him he is a born leader. He may not always act like one, but I see it in him. I also tell him he should grow up to be a lawyer. I guess he listens more than I realize.

“I plan to be a fashion designer or a doctor,” said a girl whose family does not speak English. She is undauntedly focused. Last year she wrote me a letter about how sad it makes her when other students disrupt and keep her from learning. If anyone deserves to succeed, it is this child.

I busied myself with the mess at my back desk and allowed their college talk to wash over me. Part of me was afraid that if I really listened I might cry. These are kids I have loved for nearly two years who will leave me in less than two months. Without realizing it, I am beginning to detach. Still, I am comforted to know they will leave my classroom with big dreams in their hearts. I hope they last.

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5 thoughts on “Fifth Grade: Big Dreams in Their Hearts

  1. kingmidget says:

    Just boggles my mind that 5th graders have these conversations. I can’t imagine having that type of conversation when I was that age.

  2. Kozo says:

    Nothing as fragile and inspiring as the dreams of children. Thank you for keeping them alive. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

    • oliviaobryon says:

      Yes, now if only I could follow them for the next seven years to make sure those dreams never die 😉 Hoping they stick around at our school for the long haul, we’re K-12 and I’d love to see them graduate.

  3. nicole says:

    I love overhearing children talk. So sweet; I hope they never stop dreaming!

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