Friday 16 March 2012

Why I am a teacher's worst nightmare.

No, it's true. I think I am and I can prove it.
  • I am a trained teacher. I did my training in South Africa, my first post was at an incredibly well-resourced special education school. 
  • I worked in the UK for four years at an amazing school, with incredibly talented teachers and teacher aides.
  • I worked in NZ for two years in a specialist role.
  • I avidly follow educational blogs and articles.

I have seen different practices and curriculums, I have seen what works and what doesn't.

Which is why I am a teacher's worst nightmare. I know what I want to see in a learning environment. I know what I expect to see and I know what I want Monkey to experience.

Seeing the problem yet?

Nothing scarier than a mother who knows what she wants and has the training to back it up...

The biggest problem for me, is that my ideals are very different to the system here and the one in the UK and SA... I see things here that I like but some that are lacking. I want Monkey to be free to play and learn incidentally but I also want him doing slightly more focussed small group tasks for a small part of his day. I feel he needs this as he is very eager to learn to read and write. But he is unlikely to get this until he starts school in a year.

See... I'm a nightmare mother!!

By some strange stroke of luck, Monkey's Kindy is working on refocussing their ethos and are asking for families to contribute a word that encompasses what a learning environment should embody.

I mulled it over for ages. No, really, I did...

I ended up with these:
  1. Expression
  2. Exploration
  3. Extension
  4. Exposure
  5. Expectations
I highlighted exposure, as it is the keystone of it the whole educational experience. I believe that school is where a child should be exposed to opportunities, different materials, technology, thoughts, views. They should be exposed to challenging situations, they should be able to feel uncomfortable in a safe environment. They should be exposed to real life in a secure and loving way. There should be exposure to failure, to losing, to playground spats with a trained adult who is able to view it differently to me as a parent.

If you've stuck with me this far, thank you for bearing with me... 


    1. I think you would have liked the daycare Caitlyn was in. She was in a get ready for school class (so only 4 year olds). They did some proper school visits, other outings, lots of play, but also sometimes a focus on other skills. She was encouraged to learn to write her name. Sometimes they did basic worksheets learning to write some letters correctly, they had a computer session and so on. It was one of the best ones she's attended to date!

      1. It sounds good, too bad it's a bit too far from us :D. His kindy does some great things but it's just not quite enough for me, I'll try and fill the gaps. x

    2. ... and you have just explained one of the many reasons why I don't have kids. Heck, it's hard enough being an aunty and watching my nephew go to kindy! Although your specific teaching experience is different to mine, I think we've ended up in the same place via different pathways. It makes it very hard to when you have an inside understanding of what quality education actually is and where the bar should be set.

      1. Thanks, I am so glad it's not just me. I'm hoping that knowing what I want for him means that I will be able to help him get it. It's hard to balance being a mum/aunt/dad/uncle and a teacher.

    3. Heh try being a Playcentre mum and trying to convince your child's teacher why they shouldn't be telling the children how to paint, and instead, letting them work it out themselves. ;)

      1. Lol, it's hard whichever way you come at it...

    4. Girl, you think way hard, and you've given me lots of food for thought with your five main points.

      I've been doing a bit of a brain churn with the whole schooling thing and educational philosophies these last few weeks (only because various people have been asking me *already* whether I have thought about schools etc).

      I'm going to have to think those through (and do some googling), and you'll be hearing from me if I'm stuck, OK?

      1. Feel free to email me... I'm always willing to help if I can :)

        And yes, they start asking about schools SOOO early! It's right up there with "when are you having a second?"


    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment. I try to reply to as many as I can either here or by email. <3 LJx