Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Joys of Teaching & Knowledge

Every time I teach I'm reminded how much I love it. Right now I'm teaching a Bible Study for a few of the nannies (it isn't mandatory, and only four have opted to take it) and then I teach at our weekly staff meetings.

During the staff meetings I’ve been working through a book called How to Help Your Child Succeed. It is my second attempt at teaching from this book. The reason for that is that most of the staff members currently working for us weren’t here the first time I taught from it.

It’s a very small book with only a few chapters, but it takes extra time to cover the material because I have to teach what the words in the book mean before I can teach the concepts. 

For instance, for the past few weeks I’ve been teaching from one page that covers qualities that one might (or might not) want to foster in a child. Before deciding whether one would want to develop those qualities in a child, one would need to know what those qualities are.

Today we covered timid, versatile, creative, talkative, risk-taking, well-adjusted and emotional. When discussing talkative, I mentioned how important it is to allow children to talk as much as they want even if some of it is nonsense. This culture can be a bit of ‘children should be seen and not heard’ in some ways. I mentioned how a child might make up a story about seeing a purple monkey with red dots swinging by holding a baby. And how important it was to listen and let a child exercise their imaginations. I then asked if any of the children had told stories. They said, yes, Johnny (of course!) tells lots of stories. He even has said he wants to one day walk on the moon. 

This led into a discussion about fostering children’s hopes and dreams in what they could be when they grow up. 

In my experience school children here tend to have very practical aspirations on what they will be when they grow up. Boys—teachers, accountants, doctors, pastors, etc. Girls—nurses, sisters (kind of like nuns), teachers, etc. These are attainable dreams. You will almost never hear outrageous dreams like astronaut, pilot, circus clown, actor, dancer, or what have you.

I encouraged my nannies about how important it was to let a child dream. The likelihood that a child we care for will become an astronaut is on the skinniest side of slim, but how wonderful to foster that dream for as long as possible. 

With my own children I often used their dreams to help them learn more in school. I would get them books on the subject, tell them how they could use math in that profession, and do all I could to ride their dream while it lasted. 

As we talked today about astronauts I reminded them that one of the sponsors of our kids is an astronaut and even played a major part in the last space shuttle mission. I then mentioned in passing that Neil Armstrong had recently passed away.  I got the impression from their reactions that they didn’t really know who I was talking about. Sure enough, one of the ladies spoke up and asked if I was saying that people had really been to the moon. 

I was shocked!

Nearly all of the ladies working for us have graduated from high school. How had they missed out on such a critical, amazing, earth changing piece of history??

I spoke for several minutes about the mission to the moon, but since the internet was down I couldn’t show them any pictures or video. I’ll definitely be preparing that for next week’s meeting. I’ll also pull out any books or encyclopedia entries we have in our library.

Because of our forays down daisy paths of imagination, history and English language pronunciation we only managed to cover 7 words on the list of qualities. But, isn’t that the best part of teaching? I love it!

Exactly One Year Ago: Here I Am
Exactly Three Years Ago: Beauty and the Beastie
Also Exactly Three Years Ago:  I Nearly Died!


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