Saturday, March 20, 2010

Two Kinds of Teachers

The centipede Kathryn found in her bed brought this vintage song to mind. A favorite blast from the past, The Inchworm song by Frank Loesser takes me right back to the golden homeschool days of snuggling with my babies on the sofa in our jammies reading Five in a Row classics. Science took us to the duck pond and math meant baking cookies.

Watching it now, underscores the diametrically opposed styles of the two teachers. I feel this tension every time I step foot in Reid's current school, tour an alternate placement, or interview tutors. Even as I navigate daily situations, I face the internal dilemma of prioritizing "instructional control" or following his lead.

Reid's days are spent in a sugar-coated behavior mod hell. But hey, it's scientifically based and proven effective!* Through consistent, direct instruction and follow through they have, in fact, helped Reid establish good student skills and extinguish several maladaptive behaviors. I fear however, that his success there dictates a future in some equally rigid, highly staffed environment, which is not what I envision.

In contrast, this very moment as I peck away, Reid is directing the show with a woman who would fly a kite with Danny Kaye all long as the day was long letting shoes pile up at the cobbler shop. With her, his spirit soars higher than the scarves they are tossing in the air. He chats a blue streak, dances a bi-lateral jig, and otherwise fills our home with unbridled joy. There is cooperation, mutual respect, emotion, and creative output in the form of drawing, singing and art.

Which do you prefer: the pinch-nosed marm reciting times tables behind the shutters or Danny Kaye inspecting inchworms after weaving yarns down on the river bank?

Who would you learn more from? What about your child?

Or do we need some of both? That is my quandry this month friends....

1 comment:

  1. Whew. "Sugar-coated behavior mod hell." You have a way with words.

    A couple of turns of phrase from the workshop I attended last Thursday... will blog it when I can.

    "Death by sight-words." The pinch-nosed marm way of teaching reading these days...

    "Novelty and joy." The two most important components of a successful curriculum, according to the presenter.

    Let's go fly a kite, up to the highest height!