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A concerned member of the human race

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Teaching With a Golden Thread

When teaching is in your blood, you probably find yourself doing "teacherly" things all year round.  My oldest received a Hello Kitty sewing machine for her birthday.  I taught her how to thread the bobbin and the needle.  I taught her the basics of sewing safety.  Now, she can sew a pillow and who knows what else down the road.  She no longer needs me unless there's a jam or she runs out of stuffing.

When you teach someone something, you open a door.  I watch her plan patterns, realizing that her sewing skill has yet to catch up with the breadth of her imagination.  She will scale down her projects for the time being, but as her skills grow, I know her imagination will run wild and ideas will become realities.  She will pave her room with her own patterns.  She will create wonderful things from little more than mere scraps and ideas.  

Then, there is my "middlest" daughter ever.  In addition to teaching her a little embroidery, I started to teach her how to play the recorder.  She has the patience to sit with Mom and practice.  We have a lot of fun.  More than teaching her the fingerings or how to cover the holes properly, I am happy to give her some of her first lessons on reading musical notes.  With that little knowledge, she will be able to play a million or more tunes on a whole range of instruments some day, if she chooses.  She'll basically be set for life.  It takes a load off of a mother's mind.

James Galway, Whose Flute is Altogether a Different Instrument From the Flute I Used to Play or Our Recorders!

What?  Don't Tell Me You've Never Heard of Boomwhackers.  Science Meets Music in the Best Way

My youngest daughter now has a full set of boomwhackers (more than just the chromatic ones Santa made a mistake of giving her).  I will teach her how to knock out a few tunes.  In the meantime, she has taken it upon herself to teach herself the words to her favorite Mommy-tested-and-approved songs from "up at the school."  She sits at the computer and freezes all the video frames.  She writes down each and every word.  She's not only learning a tune, she's improving her notoriously poor handwriting skills.  It's amazing how learning one thing spills inadvertently into learning so many other things.   She takes great pride as she writes each word so very neatly.  And if she makes a mistake, she turns the mistake into a picture.  I cheer her on, one beautiful, reusable song at a time!

I'm guessing even if I wasn't born to teach, I would do the same things over the vacation.  It's nice though that the same nurturing skills that keep things balanced at home can be the foundation of a career.  It's extra nice to carry that same spirit of learning through sharing which filters through our household into the classroom.  

And for those who would close schools and destroy century-old communities, stuffing handsome salaries into their pockets as they do so, I wonder if they would do the same to their own family.   Schools are families.  If they run like businesses, society will surely crumble.  If testing saps the joy from learning, we do ourselves a great disservice.  If schools, however, are built upon caring and compassion, social cohesiveness will only strengthen.  We will have a golden thread and a needle so fine.

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