#1 Teaching Tip

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it

Rudyard Kipling

In my last 17 years of teaching, from tutoring to daycare to preschool to elementary to college to now high school, I have learned that—above all—what children need are patient, loving witnesses.

Despite our inclinations to solve their problems, to make their sadness, frustration go away, what they really need, is us holding space for them while they figure life out, at their own pace.

Report Cards

Sanity Food
Aside: I usually eat fairly healthy, unless it’s report card time or vacation time, then anything goes—ANYTHING GOES!

 

Report card writing usually takes quite a bit out of me.

Even my colleagues ask me why my comments are so long, which has been the main reason behind me pulling a couple all-nighters, because otherwise report cards would probably need just half the time that I take. The real reason behind this self-inflicted struggle, is that I want to let the parents know that it’s not just the marks that matter, rather their attitude as a learner, a student, a person. I spend more time with these kids than most of their parents. I keep thinking if I were a mom, I’d be curious to know how my child is, in the areas that matter, such as their emotional well-being, their altruistic tendencies (or the lack thereof—if this is the case, then it would definitely be from the hidden genes of my future husband (ha!)). So things like, Jake may not be a good test-writer, but he always brings an infectious positive energy to class, and we all love him for it; Sam may not be the best at writing essays, but he always tries to offer his insights, never fearing of making mistakes; and Angela, Angela may always be achieving the highest possible grades, but she’s often so stressed, and no child should ever have to feel they can’t live up to their parents’ expectations. 

Sometimes, the kids read their own report cards, too. So my comments are also for them. They need to know that I notice it when they spend extra effort on their readings, when they choose to ignore their immature friends and stay focused, when they step out of their fear of public speaking and participate in class. I want them to know that, their effort counts, and that I am ever so proud of them.

That’s why report cards are hard to write. At the end of all those comments, it’s usually a seven-thousand-word affair.