MODERN DAY MARTHA

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  • Excuse me, Teacher?

    When I was little, everyone told me I should be a teacher when I grew up. Oh, how I hated that. A teacher was very possibly the last thing I wanted to be, not because I didn’t like teachers, I just had no interest in it whatsoever. Being in a classroom all day? No thanks.

    Jump to yesterday, at a BBQ with some of B’s co-workers. They all have kids, and one of the wives (who stays at home with her son) was asking around about preschools and daycare. She explained that her child, who is 4, needs to go to preschool because he needs learn to read and write and learn his numbers to be ready for kindergarten.  And so they were looking at different options, all expensive, all time consuming.

    When she got around to me, I told her about our little home preschool, and she just nodded and moved on, going back to the discussion about 6 hour school days and whether food was covered in the fee. Teaching at home wasn’t even an option to consider.

    Now, before I go any farther, let me state unequivocally that I’m SO not anti-preschool. That’s not what this is about.

    What this is about is believing that we’re not teachers.

    Maybe it’s because I grew up in a home with a natural born preschool teacher for a mom, who taught me to read and held summer school in our house for me, my siblings,  and our friends. Maybe it’s because my dad taught me math each day after school when I didn’t understand it in class. Maybe it’s seeing my friends and family members have home “schools”; whether that consists of doing worksheets with a preschooler or a full fledged curriculum with varying ages of elementary school age kids. Or maybe it’s because I’m part of a church that regularly asks people with no training to teach classes full of kids or adults.

    Whatever the reason, I believe we’re all teachers. Some people, like my mom, have an inborn talent for it. Others have to work at it. But with some effort and imagination, I think any of us can teach anything we need to. It’s not necessary to rely on someone else to do it for us, if we don’t want to. And I stress that last point- I’m not saying everyone should homeschool, yeeha! – but rather that we shouldn’t feel inadequate to the task of teaching

    And really, (and my seven year old self CAN NOT believe I’m saying this), is there anything better? Sharing information, tools for understanding, witnessing connections being made, light bulbs going on; it’s like watching a magic trick. And I wouldn’t miss that magic trick for the world.

    How about you? Does teaching come easily to you, or is it a struggle? What’s your favorite thing to teach?

    12 Responses to “Excuse me, Teacher?”

    1. Hilary says:

      I think all moms have to teach, it’s just the idea of 19 others of kids like ours (or worse) that we’d have to deal with that makes us all a bit nauseated. :) I love teaching my kids. Most moms just don’t get the mommy school. And frankly, they never will.

    2. Becky says:

      I LOVE to teach!!! When I am not doing it during the school year, I teach at a summer camp. I think there are soooo many opportunities to teach inside AND outside of the classroom. Parents who do not spend AT LEAST 30 minutes each day teaching their children are being bad parents!!! Parents are so quick to rely on “real” teachers to teach their children. There are so many valuable lessons that can only (or better) be taught by the children’s parents. My 2 cents. :)

    3. Maryanne says:

      Becky, I appreciate your enthusiasm and love of teaching. Let’s stay away from labeling “bad parents”, however- there are too many factors at play for that. I really do think a lot of parents are just completely intimidated by the thought of teaching, and want to leave it to someone who is trained to do so.

      Hilary, I so hear you. I love teaching my own kids, or a couple extra for preschool. A whole classroom? I’m still not to that point. :)

    4. Valerie says:

      I like to think the best teaching happens when we don’t even realize we are teaching. When the natural curiosity of child is matched by the attention of parent. I love that.

      I also love our home preschool and am so glad to have become a part of it. Spending structured time with Maia and friends has been a valuable lesson to me on how children learn. It is intimidating but ultimately so rewarding. I would not give up these moments I get to spend with my children for anything. They are the reason I became a parent.

    5. Maryanne says:

      “When the natural curiosity of child is matched by the attention of parent”

      Ooh, Val, I LOVE that.

    6. Angeline says:

      I feel that school is sort of the jumping off point for parents to continue teaching their children or to open up discussions with them. So many people either don’t care about what happens at school, or completely overreact, thinking their children will be brainwashed or something. If you are in touch with the school and talk to your kids about what happens there, you have an opportunity to reinforce your family’s own values while acknowledging that not everyone thinks the same. For example, a lot of people are freaking out about President Obama’s speech to school children tomorrow. I don’t have a problem with it. It’s being shown on the internet. I can watch it myself and then talk to my six-year-old daughter about it. If there’s anything in it that I have a problem with, we can address that. And we can talk about his ideas about working hard in school, etc. I believe a parent’s primary responsibility is to teach their children.

    7. Julie says:

      I LOVE teaching and talking and discussing – especially about our religion, science, and books. I really hate the rote of teaching letters. I’m thrilled school works so much with that. I’m somewhat patience deficient in that area. But my kids and I will talk for hours about the Fall of Adam or the periodic table (for example) and we a blast. My kids know that can ask questions and I will answer or we will look it up. And I figure school works on academics and I will “redo” ethics and morals. But I don’t ever want to be a teacher in a classroom. Please no.

    8. Julie says:

      I forgot to put down my other more important teaching thought cuz I’m a space cadet. Ok. Teaching is not just discussions or worksheets or flashcards. When my kids see me clean the house, or better yet when I force them to help, they are learning about work and cleanliness. When they watch me nurse/change/cuddle/play with the baby they are learning about tenderness and parenting. When they see me drag them to church every Sunday despite the difficulty they are learning about the importance of faith and obedience. When they watch my husband and I kiss and play and even argue constructively, they are learning about relationships. These things can’t be taught in school or anywhere and are arguably the most important teaching we can do. Example. I think every parent teaches every moment of their lives rather they want to or even aware of it. My mom is still teaching me!

    9. @Becky
      That’s an interesting point, Becky…I remember my Dad complaining when we had an indepth at home assignment that he sent us to school to get taught, and didn’t want to do it at home.

    10. @Angeline
      Good point Angeline…I think it’s good for kids to get challenging ideas at school, so they can talk about them with their parents and decide what THEY believe. I remember my hippie Mama being totally okay with my brother and I participating in DARE, though she thought Just Say No was too harsh…”Can’t you say No thank you?” :)

    11. @Julie
      I love the idea of teaching by example, Julie, and I agree my Mama teaches me everyday! This weekend we were with my godmother’s sister, who is very ill, and seeing my Mama make her lunch and empty her bed pan with good cheer and calm kind words was beyond instructive. I learn to be more like Christ from watching my Mama (who is not a Christian) than by anything else in my life.