Monday, April 28, 2008

Using the skills of a teacher in my home

Two weeks ago your faithful blogger became a mom. I hope that helps to explain the somewhat random nature of today's entry.

I prepared for becoming a mom in much the same way one prepares to become a teacher. I studied the books. I asked the experts. I took the classes. I watched other moms in action. But as with the first day teaching your first class, nothing really prepares you for your first child like the child himself.

When Leal popped into my world all the classes, mentoring, and preparation gave me confidence that I knew what was going on, but it was my skills of observation, trust of my own intuition, and ability to learn from mistakes that began this slow journey of getting to know my son.

What has surprised me most is the fact that at only 2 weeks of age he has as much to teach me as I have to teach him... such is the student/teacher relationship. We are learning each others' rhythms, patterns, and needs. At this tender and wonderful age it is amazing that his cry can be stopped once I figure out what it originates from. There is such enormous responsibility and power in my ability to do that!

Now I am wondering if this baby cry phenomenon isn't true for all children. Often our students' cries are not audible, sometimes they are just gestures, facial expressions, tiny behaviors... but if as teachers we can unlock the meaning behind these signals - can we too begin to meet their needs?

Over the years I suspected a link between parenting and teaching but I, like so many educators, had been resistant to make that connection. Shouldn't a strong line be drawn between the responsibility of the parent and that of the teacher?

That made perfect sense until two weeks ago.

Today as I think of what it will mean in a few years to entrust my perfect, beautiful, child to the classroom of a teacher who isn't me - I realize that my expectations of that future teacher are just as high as they are for myself. I don't ever want his "cries" to be misunderstood, ignored, or overlooked.

In some ways I'm glad I was a teacher before I was a parent. I think the enormity of the task before me would have been even more overwhelming knowing what I know now. Just as nothing in my life will ever be the same again now that my baby is here - my philosophy of education, my understanding of what it really means to be a teacher, and my expectations for myself as a teacher of my own child and those of others - will also never be the same.

What an awesome job we have as parents and teachers.

We nourish, we grow, we inspire.

We raise the children of today into the adults of tomorrow.

Is there any job more significant than that?

No comments: