Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Good Teachers

One of my dreams, as a mother, is to surround my children with good teachers. Unfortunately, this is not entirely under my control. This year, Pippi seems to have two fine teachers. Here are some qualities I want in a teacher for my daughter. I also want these qualities so that I can be a more affective teacher to her.

1- I want, most of all, her teachers to be kind to her and to all their students. Pippi looks up to her teachers and follows their lead. Pippi told me the other day that she had the best 2nd grade teacher because her teacher doesn't ever yell and tells people to do things in the nicest way. Kids notice politeness and kindness.

2- I want her teachers to set her up for success, not failure. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I believe some special effort is required. Pippi's current teacher puts an extra color on the top of the school's regular regular color-code behavior system, so it takes longer to get to Red. (Blue is good behavior. Green is pretty good. Yellow--2 naughty things. Red-bad day.) The first week of school, the teacher rewarded the children for things that she expected them to do.

3- A good teacher recognizes a student's limitations and helps her through them. A couple of weeks ago Pippi came home with her wrist hurting from all the writing that they had had to do that day. (Stop laughing at my daughter's writer's cramp!) Pippi actually had to have the teacher help her finish her writing tasks. And her teacher did help her through her painful situation.

4- A good teacher seizes teaching moments. Today Pippi came home with a story told by her teacher. "Mrs. N says that the boys used to call her diarrhea (Her first name is Ria) when she was in school. She thought that was an awful name for someone to call her. And it hurt her feelings. But, she just laughed with them and then they didn't call her that name anymore." I don't know how this story came up, but I'm pretty sure this isn't written into the curriculuum.

5- A good teacher is patient. Pippi's piano teacher seems to be awfully patient with her and with me while we're getting her practice schedule figured out.

6- A good teacher can figure out where students are going to get frustrated and prepare a way to help ease the frustration. Today I asked Pippi's piano teacher for some help on a song I'm working on. She asked me which part was troubling me. I showed her and she said, "I knew it! Here, this is the fingering I would use." And her trick worked, and now I am not stumbling over the keys so much anymore.

7- A good teacher doesn't get discouraged for very long. They figure out a way to solve their problems and touch their students. Pippi's piano teacher has two LDS, Spanish speaking, piano students. When she found out I was LDS too, she was so excited to show me the simplified hymn book she found online for them. I feel grateful for a teacher who will use a person's own music to help teach them as this great woman seems to be doing.

When I think of Pippi's teachers, I'm humbled and grateful. They definitely do things for her that I can't.


Prairie Smoke said...

Teaching is really a mission, not a job. How great it is to have teachers who realize they have a calling in life and give it their best.

JessK said...

What a lovely list. I know from personal experience that #1 is the best form of discipline with high school students. This list would make a lovely gift for Pippi's teachers.

Witty said...

I'm so glad to know that Pippi has such supportive teaching influences in her life!