One of the cool things about teaching is that I am constantly being taught by the kids, my co-workers, and circumstances in general. I learn something new every day. Kids are great teachers, by the way. Here are just a few things kids have taught me:
- Never lose the sense of wonder associated with learning. We live in a truly amazing world. Everything we see and touch has a lesson in it. There are also lessons within the lesson.
- Learning comes easier when it is fun. Use games, puzzles, and fun activities to get kids engaged.
- Creating things is not just fun, it is expanding our imagination and shows others what we are capable of.
- Playtime and rest are both necessary. We need more of the first when we are young, and more of the second when we are older.
- Be quick to console and encourage someone who is hurting. Everyone needs to know that somebody cares when they hurt. You may be the only one who cares at that moment.
- Every child learns in their own unique way. The challenging thing about teaching is to reach every child collectively and individually. You are more likely to connect with a child to understand their learning style when you have developed rapport with them.
- Kids engage quicker with teachers they like. Don’t we all? Learn to be likable.
- Kids have more ability than we give them credit. Their ability just has to be stretched and tested to expand to its fullest form. Even when stretched, it can be expanded further again and again.
- Sometimes the lesson plan goes out the window for more important lessons at hand. Go with the flow and be flexible. Life lessons tend to be remembered for life.
- Every kid wants someone to admire their work. Praise them liberally and you will see them more likely to engage again.
- The quiet kids have something to say too. They just have to be encouraged to speak and then listened to. Sometimes they have the best answers to a question.
- The loud kids that go “Ooooo oooooo oooooo!” and raise their hands don’t always have the right answers. They just like the attention. Teach them that if they want to be called on, they have to raise their hands quietly. They usually get the message when you call on the quiet kids who are raising their hands without all the noise.
- Hitting one another does not get the desired results. Sadly, some adults still need to learn this lesson.
- Kids can learn multiple languages if taught from an early age.
- Kids need boundaries and structure, yet they also can thrive in creative learning situations that have little structure and minimal boundaries. Find the mix that works best with your class. Every class has a personality. Learn it quickly if you want to minimize the chaos and maximize the learning.
- Creative seating works. Use beanbags, captain’s chairs, bounce balls, etc. for kids to sit on. Make the choice of seating a reward for good behavior.
- Kids understand computers and love using them. Use them wisely. The internet is full of wonderful and evil things at the same time, and all at the push of a button. Use proper precautions and filters with kids when on the web. The internet will rob a child of their innocence if you let it.
This is just a sample of things I have learned. I am sure the list will expand this year starting on day one of school. I am excited to see what I will be learning.