Written by Emily Bowman.
Are you new to teaching? Are you a parent frustrated with your child’s teacher’s way of teaching?
You may not be alone. In his Ed Week article, established first and second-grade teacher at Jones Elementary in Springdale, Arkansas, Justin Minkel, warns teachers about 4 teacher no nos. We wholeheartedly agree with his advice.
Minkel reminds us, as adults, parents, teachers…
“ just because we can make our students do what we want doesn’t mean we should.” Inadvertently, it’s easy to stumble into this blunder. We are tired, we are stressed and we are in a hurry. Children “need to move, talk, question, and explore more than we do, because they’re in the midst of that mind-boggling explosion of cognitive, physical, and social-emotional growth that marks childhood in our species.” says Justin Minkel. Asking kids not to do these things and holding our them accountable to the same norms that we hold adults to is not going to work You’ll only be more frustrated in the end and so will the child.
Read more about a smooth transition into the new school year.
What are Minkel’s 4 Teacher NO NOs?
Schools can be pretty big depending on the county or part of the country that you live in. The chatter in the hallways can get out of control quickly. However, asking our students for silence in the hallways when teachers are chatting it up seems a bit hypocritical. Honestly, “Chatter in the hallways, or even the squeaking of wet shoes on the floor as a class returns from recess or P.E., doesn’t seem to bother most students,” says Minkel in his article. Let’s face it, it’s a school. Kids are experiencing a variety of emotions at any moment. We shouldn’t be silencing them.
Even adults have issues being still for long periods of time. Plus, it’s not healthy to be sedentary for long periods of time. Any doctor will tell you that. So why in the world would we think it’s okay to have our students sitting still at a table or desk for five or six hours?
Teachers, you know how our feet and legs remind us of how much moving we’ve done at the end of the day? When your feet are speaking to you, ask yourself, “how much did my students move around today?” You can read more of Minkel’s suggestions on making the day easier for our kiddos in the EdWeek article.
Demanding an immediate apology from both counterparts of a confrontation isn’t necessarily the solution. As adults, we don’t believe 100% of immediate apologies to be sincere. Picture another adult forcing another grown person to apologize. It would never float. Minkel reminds us that “forced apologies don’t seem to offer much satisfaction to the child who receives them” either.
We should be teaching our children and students to listen to their emotions and resolve their feelings. Let’s help our children gain the communication skills so that they become thinkers and learn resolve issues after consideration. We need to stop forcing the answers on our children before giving them the time and space to think.
Oops! I FORGOT!
How many of you have forgotten to turn off the coffee pot? What about forgot to pack your child’s sports gear? Or ever forgotten an appointment – one you had written in your calendar? We are human. It happens! Let us not forget that our students are also humans, tiny humans, but humans at that.
It can be frustrating and we don’t usually feel good about forgetting something. As adults, our responsibilities are different than our child’s but they also have a lot going on. Their brainpower is developing as each day moves passes. We need to give them a break just like we give ourselves when we slip up.
“Kids Are Kids. That’s Exactly Who They Should Be.” Justin Minkel.
We need to take note from our kids. Justin tells us that our children’s “curiosity, enthusiasm, and sense of wonder will never lend itself to straight lines and silent desk work.” Let us remember that.
Think about what bores you. Think about how you feel after sitting for a really long time in the same place. Think about how you feel when someone gives you a half-a** apology. And really think —with a smile on your face— how you feel when you forget something. Life goes on.
Read the article that Justin Minkel wrote for Education Week here.