Parents As Teachers
In today’s COVID-19 world, a lot of parents world-wide have become their child’s primary teacher. Even though many of the students have access to on-line classes, still parents discover they must oversee the learning process. Most parents are not prepared for this role. Are you one of them who sometimes feels overwhelmed by it??
Do Not Despair
You’re not alone! Many parents who are on this “Stay at Home” routine find themselves thrust into a much more intense teacher role than they ever bargained for. Your time spent with your child/student during this time is precious. You’re making life-long memories. Make them happy ones!
I am a retired educator. I spent more than two decades as an elementary teacher and administrator. During that time, I had the opportunity to experience first-hand how the expectations of others affects our self-evaluations. Our expectation for ourselves affects our self-esteem, too. Just know you are doing your best! Hang in there!
Do Your Best
How do you know when you have done your best? Who helps you determine what your best is?
I learned from a wise educator (Madeline Hunter) in an in-service once upon a time eons ago that the question is not, “Are you smart?” The question is, “How are you smart?” What a difference that makes!
As teachers, coaches, mentors, parents, friends, our task is to look for the natural strengths in others (as well as in ourselves). We all have them. Dig! Find the positives. Build on successes. Learn from, but do not emphasize, failures. Reward achievement.
Build On Strengths
Did you read my blog a couple days ago when I told you about our adventures on “Lucille” our Polaris Razor? She is a red-head who is a “Ball” – but she required a whole new level of “Do Your Best” when Bob took her into snow that was too deep for her body. Lucille high-centered and Bob was stuck. His best efforts at digging I her out were not good enough. She was not budging!
What does this have to do with “Build On Strengths?” Well thank God, we had friends with us – and one of them, Rex, has a wonderful Boy Scout skill: “Be prepared.” He had the necessary equipment to hook up a rope to his ATV and latch the other end of it to Lucille. He pulled our ATV out of that snow… and “saved our bacon!”
Bob & I can learn from Rex’s strengths. Be prepared! Carry a rope and the necessary winch in case of emergency in the future. And when the rope came loose at the end of the reel, Rex taught Bob how to secure it with a set pin so that it would not come loose again. God bless Rex! And as for us… we’re never too old to learn!
Focus on the Positive
My favorite expression when I was counseling teachers was one with poor grammar, but with great truth: “What you pay attention to is what you get more of.”
Want success? Find the best effort and praise it! Find what the student does best and teach through that strength. Sometimes our teaching is by example – people just watch what we do. Certainly our kids are perfect examples of that! It doesn’t work to tell them “Do as I say, not as I do!” They WATCH!!
Teaching is a JOY!
After I retired, I had the fun of teaching adults who had not learned yet how to read. I joined the volunteers in the “Stanislaus Literacy Program” in Modesto, California.
When I met her, Grace was an illiterate adult. She was nearly 40 and she had spent the last 30 years avoiding the world of print. Her “best” was sorting clothes from the dressing rooms at JC Penney and putting them back on the proper racks. No words needed for that task. But she hated being unable to read. She hid it well, but it made her feel “less than.” You can imagine!
Grace enrolled in the adult literacy program and I had the privilege of working with her to unlock the world of print. Sorting letters was a lot like sorting clothes. Matching capital to small case letters, sounds to letters, classifying vowels and consonants. One step at a time, backing up to the beginning, building on her strengths, we did it. The joy in Grace’s life when she discovered she could read menus, street signs, and billboards was palpable! Next step: books. A whole new world opened up to her.
Have you ever watched the light glow in a learner’s eyes when the key to a previously locked skill is found and the door opens? “I did my best” took on a whole new meaning for me!
You can watch that key unlock new learning, new ideas, new attitudes for your child. These days offer parents great opportunities.
Help Break Down Tough Concepts
When anyone is asked to perform at a level above their capabilities, frustration abounds. I’ve had that happen to me. I was put in a place where I was supposed to lead a ZOOM group. Be the host. What? At that time, I didn’t even know what ZOOM was!
But, I WOULD have been capable of that performance, if somebody took the time to show me how.
You have a chance to be that somebody for your child… or for a neighbor or friend. With love and patience, and confidence in his/her ability to catch on, be the somebody who breaks it down. Step by step, lead him/her through the process of knowing how, trusting that s/he CAN.
People need to know that we believe in them. Believe in yourself as a teacher. Do your best! Watch the light dawn. It’s a thrill!
Learn Something New
Everyday is a new opportunity to DO MY BEST. My mother-in-law always said, “No day is complete until you have learned something new.”
There is no better way to encourage a student to continue learning than to be the example who is a life-long learner.
What will I tackle with confidence today?
How about you?
Tell me about a skill you want to acquire.
Then, Just do it!
See ya tomorrow.