Each day during March, I am participating in the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Story Challenge (SOLSC). All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, every day for thirty-one days. My slices will be primarily about teaching preschoolers. Check out the Two Writing Teachers website for lots more reflections on teaching. Thanks especially to Stacey, Tara, Anna, Beth, Dana, and Betsy for hosting this writing challenge.
trying to help a child...
You see the growth that is needed,
how to ensure that it does?
write things down
speak with the child,
speak with the family,
identify what needs to be changed,
set a specific goal,
work on it directly,
intentionally change certain things,
seek insight from colleagues,
let others observe,
tweak the environment so that success is inevitable,
build a stronger relationship with the child,
build your relationship with the family,
help your team to see what you are seeing,
ask for input and suggestions,
make a new plan,
eliminate the obvious mis-steps,
apologize when necessary,
wonder about the child,
build on strengths - the child's, yours, the teaching team, the family's
plan interactions with peers,
write up new plans,
soften your approach,
try a little less of this,
try a little more of that,
do background research,
find out more about it,
seek experts' advice and insight,
work to make progress inevitable,
give the goal lots of attention,
ignore the goal,
seek the harmony of the middle,
all the while staying focused on the goal,
note the small successes,
the incremental steps forward
repeat what works well,
keep faith in the child.
When you find yourself a little sad from the seeming lack of progress, remember those adages -
This is why it is called the art of teaching
When the student is ready the teacher is there.
Never believe you are the last one to teach a child something.
Know that the child has her own timeline,
the child decides,
you set up the environment,
you create her world,
making success more likely,
the child decides.
Make peace with the possibility that you may not see growth this year.
Magically, yesterday, a huge step forward.
It just happened.
I worked very hard to make it seem ordinary, to take it in stride.
My Teaching Assistant looked at me and said,
"You didn't imagine it. It happened. I saw it, too. Awesome."
Ah, but we do ourselves a big disservice when we call it 'magic.'
or to say, simply,
'we were waiting for this.'
There were many, many, many small and important efforts that went into this,
and must continue,
if this single step becomes the way forward for this child.
"So many things are done easily the moment you can do them at all. But till then, simply impossible, like learning to swim. There are months during which no efforts will keep you up; then comes the day and hour and minute after which, and ever after, it becomes impossible to sink. "
C. S. Lewis