Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Through a Kid’s Eyes

eyesIn Act Like an Adult, Think Like a Kid, the writer states,

“If you want to be successful working with kids, you have to stop thinking like an adult all of the time and start thinking like a kid. Remember what it was like when you were their age.  Don’t assume that your priorities are the same as theirs (or that they should be).  Don’t talk down to them, coach them up.  Empathize. Guide. Mentor. Connect. Be an adult in action and a kid at heart.”

As I write this post, I am sitting on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean and what better place than to contemplate this! We have done a lot of cruises so many things on the ship are things that we have experienced before. We skipped the Welcome Aboard show because we have seen it so many times that we can practically lip sync what is happening. In fact, we were thinking that we would take a break from cruising after this to go on more road trips.

Then last night at our dinner table, a new couple showed up and this is their first cruise. They were excited and everything was new for them. They asked questions of the 6 of us who had been cruising before and we were glad to be able to answer them. Then there were things that we took for granted because of our experience and after dinner was over, we knew we had to leave so they can get ready for the next dinner group. But the new couple did not know this. They were ready to have their coffee, relax, and talk with us some more. When we explained why we needed to leave, they were surprised and said that they didn’t even think about that.

All of this makes me think about how we see things differently when we see them for the first time compared to what we have seen many times.

For me, that is the fun of teaching.

I love when I teach a student a new skill and they can do it independently after some practice. The wonder in their eyes when they accomplish something on their own is wonderful to see. But I also have to be careful that I forget they sometimes have to be taught the little things and I take them for granted because I know them.

One year for the senior prom, my husband and I double dated with a couple of students from my class. Both of them happened to be mentally disabled so we did a lot of practicing before the prom. We talked about fine dining etiquette since we would be going to a fancy Italian restaurant for dinner. We spent a lot of time preparing for this big day.

That night at dinner everything went smoothly. After dinner, the girl and I stopped in the restroom. Boy was I surprised when she stripped out of her gown entirely to use the bathroom. Using the bathroom while wearing a gown was a skill that I took for granted and did not address before this night!

It is these little things that we need to remember and have patience with when we teach our students. We need to look at the skills through a student’s eyes and not through our more experienced eyes. Whenever I do, I’m usually amazed and can feel the wonder of new learning all over again.

What experiences have you had with looking at life through a child’s eyes? Please share.

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).

Original image: 'Eye See You' by: Paul Sapiano


Sioux Roslawski said...

I had bought a huge box of pumpkins early in October, so we could measure them (math) and cook with them (science). Since my room is a bit (okay, a lot) cluttered, I just walked around them until it was time to use them. However, a couple of my kids' eyes got so shiny with excitement, asking, "What are we gonna do with those punkins?" It reminded me 1) what it's like to be nine-years old and 2)that most of the kids wouldn't really get the chance to celebrate Halloween, let alone do something with a real pumpkin.

Pat---I'm still speechless (and clueless as to advice) when it comes to the "special ed" label and the military. I've always heard that "military intelligence" is an oxymoron. I guess it is...

Perfecting Parenthood said...

I have three very young children and it is awesome to see how they solve problems. I put up a cute image sequence of my toddler trying to get his toothbrush from above the sink all by himself. Such small things adults never think twice about, but for kids it's like they invented cold fusion!