Friday, 8 July 2011

Blog Challenge

When Amy thunk this up,  I was excited!  Once a week writing?  Never done it. Reflection matters. Mostly just to your own self,  but it matters. So Blog Challenge Begins!

Tell us the story of the first group of children for whom you were "Teacher." Maybe it was at a school, but maybe it wasn't. Maybe it was a childcare centre, or a daycamp, or a swimming pool or a dance studio or a hockey rink.  Maybe it was in your own home, or their home. Who were they? Who were you? What did it FEEL like? Maybe it was amazing. Maybe it was terrible. Either way, there is a story there. Tell it.
I roll the children, classes, schools, situations thru my head and wonder,  have I ever been the “teacher” . . . really?  I am big on “moments.” Those times that define you and chart your course.  But I do not have a “teaching” moment.
Decades ago, I was a horrible babysitter.  Disengaged, routined, hohummity. One would not have pegged me as a teacher in training. 
During University summers, I ran the 5 to 12 yr old day camp in my home town - focused, committed, “fun” but again, disengaged.  Too busy, too committed to the next moment to watch kids enjoy that moment. 
My first teaching job was unique and wonderful, frightening and freeing.  A fly-in reserve in Manitoba.  I think of those kids so often.  I was given beaver feet and tail in a plastic bag my first day with the Grade 4’s. The tail was so heavy, solid, unlike anything I had ever seen.  Like teaching can be.  But unyielding,  as my teaching was.   Certainly,  I taught at children rather than to them and yet, they taught me to look at them - Craig, Amy, Wade, John. Years later I can name that entire class, see them in my mind’s eye. 
When I moved to the grade 2 class, meeting curriculum challenges was low on the list. Letting Terrence sleep in the big chair dressed in his favourite dressup reindeer costume after spending the night sleeping in a truck seemed more important than curriculum outcome 1.2.5.  I told him a story as his eyes drooped closed, and he taught me the power of dressups in a difficult world.
Moving thru settings, schools, wrestling with philosophies and pedagogy, the kids never change. 
Allison,  when asked to create a math problem about santa peered thru  translucent pattern blocks and said matter-of -fact “What if he doesn’t come? That’s a problem. ” She taught me to look deeper and think harder. 
Goeffry, who saw math as we dream kids could now.  Intuitive, reflective, connected, beyond me.  I said “show me what you know” and he taught me how to leap - eyes wide open - into the unknown. 
Jacob, a grade seven student who taught me that small moments add up and matter. 
These moments, these aha-slam-into-you moments, happen over and over, year after year.   Ryan and Natasha, Nicole. Reid.  Caleb and Mike - figuring it out for themselves.  The fierce look of pride and triumph that flashes across a child’s face.   None of them feel like teaching moments.  They feel like learning.  My learning.  So.  
Now what? Re-reading this at a reasonable hour after a decent nights sleep,  I realize that I once again took a tangent. No one asked me for that moment when I felt like a teacher - just that first experience. The queen of tangents would like to say it is all connected. That every class feels like a first class. I would like to believe that in all that learning, perhaps there was some teaching going on. But really, who am I 
kidding : ) I have had the privilege of being schooled by amazing children for many years,  and I hope no one comes calling for back pay! 


  1. I love this. Teaching, learning, truly do happen one moment, one child, at a time, don't they?

  2. Yes! Every class feels like the first! Excellent!

  3. Found this post through #kinderchat on twitter! Beautiful reflection and I like where your tangent took you. I also appreciate the sentiment that every class feels like the first, a great way of looking at things. Thanks!