Today is a Blog Blast for Education. YAY!! Education is one of my soapbox topics. Being raised by a mother in the field and continually taking classes, I grew up listening and talking and discussing education related issues. Now that I have a child of my own… well, not much has changed. I am still talking about the issue of education. Our children are our future – and we have a part to play, with the schools, in their education.
Education is a partnership between home and school; parent and teacher. A child needs each to work together for the best possible result. That said, this is sometimes much more difficult than one would imagine.
Last year the Diva's teacher was good, but not great. She was very structured and all about teaching to the kids that needed her help most leaving the other kids to fend for themselves and yet, only work within her limits. Exploring their horizons and allowing them to run with ideas wasn't her bailiwick.
As a result, I requested a more relaxed environment for the Diva this year - and it appears that she has it. I wanted her to have innovation and support; a teacher who would listen to her ideas fostering some and allowing her to discover that others might not work. Time will tell as we are just in the middle of the first quarter. Everything looks promising so far - but then there are just 19 kids in her class.
While the school is busy teaching her the basics and allowing her to explore the ins and outs of working with different people, personalities, and learning styles, I am giving her different opportunities that the school can't. We explore culture, art, dance, music, different cities, various activities, literature, and history. I am fortunate in that the Diva is up for most any adventure. She needs her down time; her occasional PJ days, but for the most part... she is willing and raring to go!
Not only do we go places and do things though - we spend time outside, creating, talking, singing... and I spend time on the internet reading about teachers and books. I educate myself as to what is happening in other classrooms around the country. This is not my attempt to stress out my daughter or to be a nightmare parent, it is my desire to have good book ideas when a book is needed or to have different ways to approach materials. Different approaches, different perspectives, different points of view... these things are all wonderful ways to give a child the opportunity to explore the world around them and to understand that there isn't just one way of seeing things or doing things. There are many. The world is not black and white; it is gray - many shades of gray.
My goal is not to take the role of a classroom teacher in any respect. The classroom teacher is someone I highly respect and admire as it is not a job I could do well. Rather, my desire is to help the Diva be a well rounded person. I want her to be able to think outside the box, to enjoy learning, and to understand that there are so many ways to look at something and to live and learn. I want her to have her feet firmly planted on the ground while allowing her to reach for the stars... lots of different stars.
Growing up in a small town in the southwest, I didn't realize how many things were out in the world; how many opportunities there were or all the things I could do. I want the Diva to know that there are opportunities; there are wonderful things to try and to experience. Although I can't expose her to all of them - I can expose her to a lot and hope that she knows that this, all that she sees and explores, is just a small piece of what is out there. If she dreams it, it can happen!
Education is a partnership. It is not something that can be done well by one, but is best done by many. Teaching to me is about exposing children to diversity in addition to teaching them facts. It is about teaching them to think and giving them the tools to do so. Teaching is a two way street. We teach as we learn - and learn as we teach!
Additional Post for the Blog Blast for Education: