Yesterday I had a lovely day teaching. Actually I nearly always have lovely days teaching.
Sadly not many teachers are able to say that nowadays, with all the pressure on them to teach the whole of the national curriculum and record every little detail, differentiate for each child named as SEN in their class, and accommodate those who aren’t named as such. Consequently more and more teachers are finding that after three or four years they are beginning to feel burnt out, overworked, with paperwork slipping. Paperwork was the bane of my life too. Yes, I do still have some to do, but now I am back to doing, predominantly what I live for, which is to teach.
In one morning, I had the greatest fun in teaching the difference between how the left and right brain works, and why it impacts the way I teach, and the way the children learn, introducing the difference between invertebrate and vertebrates, getting reluctant writers to word build in a fun manner, in which they really engaged, and working with the properties of cubes. I was able to bring in geometry, multiplication, and recording in a meaningful manner answers that made sense to the children. One was 5, one nearly 6 and one nearly 11. Each did the same lesson at their own level. Each used the same equipment and made connections that enabled them to move forward in their general understanding of life.
“Why is it important to know that a cube has six faces, even when you can’t see them when they are joined together to make a bigger cube?” I asked.
“Because there is always something hidden, and we might not remember that it is there.” was one astute answer.
Indeed! There is always something hidden. I find this daily. The conversations I have with the children in my care reveal their hidden minds; their hugely grown up aspirations, and dreams, and the desire to make sense of a world which is increasingly complex. Children are our future, and I find that they are constantly thinking about their place in the future, and how they can help their fellow man. I have the liberty in my small setting to engage in real conversations while I am teaching, and consequently the children are able to see the relevance of what they are learning. This is an example of one, short and simple conversation.
“Why do I need to learn all this tricky stuff?”
“Because you have a scientific brain and that means we need to use both sides of it to learn as much as we can about everything.”
“So, how can I do this when my clever brain keeps forgetting?”
“We can use ALL our senses and make it fun.”
There are so many hidden things in our lives, so many thoughts vaguely perceived, and left to wander, hidden, in our cluttered minds, that if grasped, articulated, and given flight could change our lives and the lives of others. My aim, high as it is and seemingly impossible to achieve, is to give the children in my care, the time to think through these hidden thoughts, to know that they are heard, with sincerity, and perhaps, allow them the time to let their ideas grow, be expressed and take flight.
So let us remember, even very young children have big thoughts. Let us remember those thoughts are there, even if they are hidden.