Friday, July 9, 2010

If I had my wish...

I got some great feedback yesterday -- one idea that I particularly liked was one where I can be the one who deciphers the "educationese" that teachers throw out.

Just like any profession, education has buzzwords that come into play and suddenly parents are saying "Huh?" What is "Balanced Literacy" or "4 Blocks" -- what exactly is my teacher telling me about my child's learning?

So I will try and do more of that, especially as school starts up. You will be headed to your "Back to School" night where the teacher will be explaining what is in store for the year...I will try to give you a heads up on the latest so you will feel well informed.

Funny memory for me, actually. I remember when I started my first year. I threw out "phonemic awareness," "whole language," and "phonics" around like I knew exactly what I was talking about. Little did I know that it would take me the next 17 years to continue to broaden my understanding and philosophy about how to teach...

Just remember that there are always "new" things coming down the pike, and they are all called something different. Don't be alarmed. Comment here, and I will help.

For today, however, I thought about what I would say to you from a teacher point of view. I posed this question to myself: If there was one thing I could tell my parents of my future students for this year...what would it be?

That is a super hard question, by the way.

I think I would say to provide opportunities for your child to read daily, and to talk with them about how reading is simply part of life, not an assignment for school.

Now, I am not saying you will change your child's perspective on that, but you will have laid the groundwork for me.

One of my challenges at the beginning of the year is to teach them that their learning is what they do for themselves...learning is not assignments ("How long does it have to be?" "How do you want it Mrs. Forrest?") done for me.

Most parenting advice I read tells me not to "command" or "demand" or put my child on the only makes them dig their heels deeper. (I will admit, there are times with four boys, where there is commanding occurring).

So coax...just drop the casual conversations, ask them what they think about what they have been reading. Be curious -- "I just wondered what you were thinking..." goes farther than "Tell me what you read."

I don't think I am unusual -- most teachers would probably say the same thing -- so go ahead, try and find something (book, magazine, cookbook, instruction manual, internet article) for them to read!

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