Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Changing MY Teaching Style

Sophia (my youngest) is different than Audrey (my oldest)  in many ways.  If she doesn't want to do something, she will not do it!  For example, one day she wanted to work on writing her letters.  To be honest, she is not really ready for some intense handwriting practice.  She is only 3 and most 3 year olds don't have the dexterity to properly form their letters.  

Anyhow, I go along with it and try to help her.  She is busy writing the letter A, only she is starting her lines on the wrong side.  She starts her letter A with a stroke on the right and then on the left.  She is very proud of her handwriting skills and is eager to do more "school".   The teacher in me gently takes her hand and shows her how to correctly trace the letter A onto her paper.  Suddenly she screams a little, cries a lot and gets really mad.  She desperately tries to erase the "mess" that I made on her paper.  She is so upset and has tears in her eyes.  I quickly try to ease the situation and erase the letter for her, but she doesn't calm down until I give her a new piece of paper.  It made my heart a little sad.  I didn't mean to make her cry.  I was only trying to help her, just like I have helped Audrey.

The Moffatt Man and I talk about it the next day.  I am bit confused.  I mean really, what is the big deal?  So much crying and screaming over that?  I just tried to show her how to correctly write the letter A.  I am a teacher and this style of learning really goes against the grain of my teaching style!  In my mind I am just trying to do what I have been trained to do, teach.  In her mind she was doing great and I totally messed it up.  I violated her space by taking her hand and writing the letter for her.  She wanted to do it all by herself.

Day 2: (Same situation, different approach)
This time I change my teaching style and tried to meet her learning style.  Sophia got busy writing her letters on her paper, just like the other day.  Today she decided she needed to practice the letter H.  At this point, her H's look more like A's.  She is really focused and proud of her work.  Instead of taking her hand and helping her trace the letter, I try something different.  I pull out our mini whiteboard.  I show her how I write the letter H.  She looked at me, she looked at her paper and started to write the letter H... PERFECTLY!

I think the moral of the story is pretty obvious.  We need to respect the different learning styles of our children, whether in the home or in the classroom.  They may come from the same womb, but they are totally different children, perfect in their own way.  I love every bit of my sweet Sophia!  She doesn't need to change at all.  I need to change my approach.  

This little girl is very intense about her school:)  She gets excited to do school and LOVES it!  I wouldn't change a single thing about this little honey!

I remember being in the classroom and I had a boy who couldn't sit down when he did his work.  He would stick his little bum in the air, wiggle it around and work away.  If I would have made him sit down and hold still, it wouldn't have worked for him.  Really, at the end of the day...who cares?  Let him stand when he works.  It worked for him, so it worked for me.

As teachers and parents, we are constantly needing to adjust and adapt to the situation so our kids are successful and happy learners!

Hey..we have been known to do some school work snuggled up on Mommy's bed!  I love it, they love it and we are all happy:)


Sha'Wakanee said...

I completely can relate to that! My four year old is just like you sweet Sophia! I have to be ver couscous when working with him. I don't want him to lose his interest and eagerness in school. We as teachers and parents need to be aware of our students'/children learning styles and adapt to that! Great post!

Kristin said...

I am a big believer in this, Annie! I never make those knees down, bottoms up kids sit correctly. Whatever works!! Same with kinds of other things! I just want my kids to feel successful. And be successful.
And, once again, your cuties are ADORABLE. :)
Happy Thanksgiviing!!

Jackie said...

Love this totally! I come from the era that you sit still, do the work the way the teacher says, and all is OK, except that it always doesn't work. I HAVE a boy who can't sit still, but yet does his work so I have tried very very hard to go with it. My sweet pea likes to stand to, I don't get it, but it works for them. Thanks for sharing this, it helps us all do a better job, whether we are classroom or home teachers.

vicky1970 said...

Hi Annie,
Thank you for sharing this sweet story. It is so important for us to always be cognizant of this in our everyday teaching. You are a wonderful teacher and mama - they are precious! Have a blessed Thanksgiving friend. <3
Traditions, Laughter and Happily Ever After

graciegirl said...

Thanks so much for sharing your story. It has opened my eyes to teaching my daughter.

Marsha M. Moffit McGuire said...

Love this post Annie!!! Yes, Yes, Yes! It is our responsibility as teachers to meet our students learning styles not the other way around. It really isn't all about us - it's about them! This is the underlying principal of differentiated instruction . . . meeting our students readiness, interests and learning styles. HOME RUN on this one Annie! :)

Lennie said...

I really like this post. Thanks for sharing.

S. Simpson said...

What a wonderful post. . .thanks for the reminder. Have a fantastic Thanksgiving.

✰ Stacy

Simpson Superstars

Teaching Fabulous Firsties! said...

A big "ditto" to what you said and Kristin's comment, too. I have a big crate of clipboards for those kids that just can't seem to get to work in the usual manner. I know I get more work done flopped out on the couch or bed with my laptop. Why should a child enjoy working or reading in a hard old chair without the option to move around and get comfy? Happy Kids + Happy Teacher= Happy Learning!
Teaching Fabulous Firsties!

Kreative in Kinder said...

I love everything about this post. I wish more teachers functioned like you. Following the child sets them up for success. :)

Traci said...

Annie, you said this so well. It is so important for teachers to embrace the fact that our kiddos have a multitude of learning styles & we are most effective when we allow them to be themselves.

Kelley Dolling said...

I loved reading this post . . . such a great reminder for all of us. Thanks so much for taking the time to share your story. Oh, and BTW, your daughter is the cutest thing ever :)

Kelley Dolling
Teacher Idea Factory

wendy mccarty said...

I have twin boys (26 yrs old now). They are "supposedly" identical...NOT! As they were learning, different as night and day. I would get SOOO frustrated, as a 1st grade teacher, I knew how to teach them the "right way". They each had their own style and knew what was right for "them". It wasn't that I didn't know how...I forgot it wasn't about ME..it was about each of them individually. Now both successful men teaching their kids, in their own way. I think as we age, we sit back & let things happen! Happy Holidays!
wendy 1stgradefireworks

Tamara L. Chilver said...

Perfectly said Annie! All my kids are very different. Happy Thanksgiving sweet friend!

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