What's Really Important?

In light of recent natural disasters I find myself asking - what's really important for me to teach the children in my classroom?  When I think about the tsunamis and earthquakes that struck Samoa and Indonesia earlier this week along with feeling a sense of despair because I can't help many of those affected it also makes me wonder about what children in those situations really needed to know.

Obviously some of us are in situations where we are more at risk of natural disasters or human made disasters than others. So why is it then that New Zealand is trying to make a standard that all children will be measured against, surely there are things that are more important to teach in some regions of our country than others, so how can we possibly apply the same standard to all children?

I may be oversimplifying here.  Wouldn't it be better for our children to be able to think for themselves, solve problems, see the big and the small picture rather than smaller goals like knowing what an adjective is and how to use it?   I don't know that you can measure those attributes using a national standard.  I believe even at primary school we need to be teaching children life skills, what they really need out in the big wide world rather than random facts that they just learn for the test or worse for the then forget because they are never going to use it again.

I’m not saying don’t teach children what an adjective is, I’m just questioning what I teach, and asking is it really relevant to the children in my class.  I would love to hear your thoughts, how do you choose what to teach when?