On Friday, December 28th I came home from the hospital with my sweet girl Ariana. I had a huge entourage with me: My brother, Josh, my sister in law,Anne, my friend, Ellen, Pat, the baby nurse, and my three nieces and nephews, Celia, Vince and Mark.
Everyone ran around helping me and never was I more relieved and thankful for good friends and family.
Before my sister-in-law, Anne, left she gave me a wise piece of advice. She thought she was giving me parenting advice and of course she was but really she was also giving me (and now you) great advice for working with kids and teachers in classrooms.
She told me that there were many ways to parent. . Yes,there are guidelines or big ideas she said, but as long as you fit into those guidelines you are fine.
What great parenting advice!
But really what great teaching advice!
Over the past 2 weeks, I have learned so many guidelines about parenting from Pat, my baby nurse, such as:
- Safety with the car seat
- Making sure to get lots of burps from Ariana during feedings
- Helping Ariana understand the difference between day and night
These are just a few of the guidelines or big ideas I have learned from Pat.
Over the past few days, I have also noticed that Pat has commented on the outfits I have put Ariana in.
- The pants are too big she tells me.
- Ariana’s shirt that goes with the pants creeps upward and she doesn’t think that is so tidy,
- Her hat is too big and it might fall in her eyes..
For a moment I was trying to change how I dressed Ariana to please Pat. This was very difficult for me (Those of you who know me know I have strong ideas about what makes for a fashionable outfit)
Thankfully, Anne’s words stayed with me and I realized that safety, burps at feedings and knowing the difference between day and night are important guidelines (or big ideas) of parenting but what to dress her in was NOT a big idea.
I had to be OK with the fact that Pat and I had different ideas about this.
Interestingly, when I talked to Pat more about this it turns out that Pat does not like babies in pants (she thinks they are tidier in onsies or jumpers as she calls them)
I think there is nothing cuter than babies in pants.
We had to agree to disagree on this. Both of us were OK because Ariana was safe and both of us even with our different ideas of ‘baby fashion’ were working within the guidelines of good parenting.
What does this mean for teaching? I’ll say what I think and I hope to hear from others.
When working with kids on writing there are certain guidelines. or big ideas..For example, when I work with the youngest writers I want them to do some sort of drawing to help them with their writing but it should be up to them whether they draw all their pictures first, a picture and then words or their words first and then their pictures second. The general guideline is planning but we should be flexible in how kids use their drawing to plan.
Sometimes we /I get too stuck on kids doing things exactly how we/I ask rather than doing what Anne suggested, having guidelines and getting kids to work within these guidelines.
Likewise, when working with teachers, I/we have to always be careful that I/we don’t get frustrated if teachers don’t do things exactly the way I would do them in the classroom.
One guideline I have for good upper grade teaching is that kids do extended planning. Exactly how teachers do this in their classrooms should be unique to that teacher (although I will offer suggestions).
Once again there should be guidelines (or big ideas) and as long as teachers are within those guidelines they’re fine. 🙂
And when we let people be themselves their teaching, their learning, and their parenting is better 🙂
I hope to hear from you.
Until next time,