What do teachers wish us parents knew?
What teachers wish us parents knew
An Interview with a Teacher – Connie at Lessons and Learning for Littles
Hi Connie, so the kids in America must be heading back to school or starting soon. When does it all kick off with you?
Connie: School starts the middle of August around here, as late as after Labor Day for others, but some (Arizona!) already started… so, it’s kind of all over the place.
Ok so very soon! I’ll get right into the questions then…
1. What made you get into teaching? I went into teaching because I realized that education is the great equalizer. No one can take what we know away from us, and one way to step up the corporate ladder is by being well-educated. Plus, teaching is something that I’ve always been good at and enjoyed doing.
2. What do u love the most about it? The thing I love most about teaching is seeing when someone “gets it.” I love to make people’s lives easier and help both children and adults learn new things. Plus, there’s always new stuff to learn and each day is different. 🙂
3. What age group do you teach? I taught elementary and middle school before I became a mom. Now, I teach parents how to teach their toddlers at home. I also teach preschool as part of a local preschool co-op.
4. Do you have any advice on preparing toddlers for preschool? Oh, yes! Schedules and routines are key. It helps them know what to expect, follow directions, do things in a certain order, wait their turn or wait for something they’re looking forward to, and so much more. Having toddlers do as much as they can for themselves also helps. We don’t want them going to school and not knowing what to do when their pencil rolls on the floor or how to open their lunch box during snack or lunch time. The pressure to do more and have our kids be better, smarter, and quicker than the next kid is real. I suggest ignoring it and the urge to teach toddlers as quickly as possible and instead focus on learning through play and developing foundational skills that will help them later in life. Faster is NOT always better, especially when we’re talking about pushing formal education, flash cards, and learning apps on our toddlers.
5. How hard is your job on a scale of 1-10? Since it’s what we make of it, and because I share the teaching load with two other moms and teachers, it’s quite easy. 🙂
6. What do you wish us parents knew? More is not better. Earlier is not better. Let toddlers enjoy being little and enjoy the time they have before they need to be in school. I get it. We want what’s best for our kids and we want to give them every possible opportunity we can, but pushing formal education, reading, writing, and so on earlier and earlier is NOT what’s best for kids. There’s actually a lot of research that supports the opposite! Delaying the start of formal education like they do in other countries, such as Finland, is found to be MORE beneficial to our kids.
7. What do you think about the current curriculum? I’m not a big fan. There’s no one size fits all. Kids are all different, have different experiences, and learn differently. I’d like to see more curriculum that’s geared toward a more holistic and well-rounded approach (theme based learning or answering big, open-ended questions are great!). There’s more to life than writing names, reciting the alphabet, and coloring in the lines. A HUGE part of the reason I started Lessons and Learning for Littles is because our littlest learners deserve better. They are naturally curious about the world around them, want to know more, and want to please us while doing things on their own. Why not capitalize on that? Why not set up opportunities for them to learn, discover, and create on their own? It doesn’t need to be complicated or drawn out either, and it’s something parents can do at home.
8. If you could change anything what would it be? Going back to basics. I’d love to see more learning through play and less emphasis on the latest apps, devices and “educational” toys. They’re truly not needed and aren’t what’s best for children. Why not use blocks, real life, nature, and other simpler things that have been used for hundreds of years? Our grandparents didn’t learn to count from watching a video and our kids don’t need to either. In fact, toddlers will learn it better and have a better understanding of what numbers actually mean if they learn to count through real life and daily interactions with their parents. The same goes for school aged kids. Let them learn by doing. It might seem like it’s taking longer at first, but it’ll pay off in the long run.
9. Any advice for the emotional parents on the first day of school?
Put on a smile and encourage your child. It’s hard for them too, even as teenagers. But, the more calm, cool, and collected you are (or appear to be), the better your child will do. And, take some photos. At home is a great idea, especially for older kids who don’t want to be seen getting their picture taken. :
10. What’s the one thing children could teach us adults? To enjoy the simple things in life. Take pleasure in the little things and enjoy the world around you. Anything can be fun if you let it.
Thanks to Connie who is doing a fabulous job of homeschooling and teaching in a classroom too! What a rewarding job and interesting lifestyle.
Hopefully this advice makes things a bit easier for preparing your angels for school! Do let us know what you think in the comments below.
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