edu180atl: mary elizabeth teem 10.11.11
Every moment with a child is a teachable moment. Given the right tools, proper modeling, and the appropriate amount of encouragement, there are very few limitations to what a child can achieve.
I heard once that our job as educators and as parents is to prepare the child for the path…not the path for the child.
Just today, I was reminded of that when I watched a little six-year-old boy solve a problem that I could have easily solved for him. While it was tempting for me — I wanted to step in and quickly remove the obstacles in Russell’s path — the better choice was to honor the teachable moment, take a step back, and allow Russell time to solve the problem independently. Russell needed to learn that he could solve the problem without help from an adult. And he was ready to do so. And he did.
I work at a school whose mission is for children to realize their unique potential while placing the child at the center of the learning process. Parents partner with teachers and teachers partner with parents.Yet, sometimes it’s the adults who creep toward the center.
If parents and teachers get out of the way, who does that leave? It leaves the child at the center of their educational development…and that’s where they should be.
What did I learn today? That in order to capitalize on those teachable moments, in order to help “grow” children into the unique individuals and problem solvers and critical thinkers they will one day become, I often have to be more disciplined in my interactions and conversations. I need to get out of the way more often. Because usually like today, as I take a step back, the child is ready to take a step forward. And that’s a good first step toward a path that they will ultimately have to choose and conquer themselves.
About the Author: Mary Elizabeth Teem has worked in education for 13 years. She strives to honor more teachable moments in preparing the child for the path ahead…whatever that path may be.