I remember, while growing up, having few conversations with adults other than day to day communication. Later, in life, I heard of some kids who grew up listening to their relatives (and relatives’ friends) discussing current events, national issues, and more, and they grew up with a greater understanding of cause and effects and the world around them.
This had some impact upon me, and some of my contemporaries, in how we educated our students. We know children are children, and we wanted them to enjoy their childhoods. Some teachers created some lessons that would encourage their imaginations while learning. Making 3-D cities with all the regulations, creating islands with stories to accompany, creating board games with rules so other students could play, and more…. All the time, while having fun, they were learning about city forming, current events, historical reasoning, societies, geography, steps and instructions, and more.
Along the way, we came to understand children are smarter than many give them credit for, that you don’t always need to talk to them as fragile. In fact, children are very resilient, something we can agree as we ourselves had many trying circumstances while growing up. I remember one kindergarten student (I taught higher grades, but this girl was the sister of one of my students.) who surprised me with how mature she seemed at such a young age, thinking about what she wants to do when she grows up, but also what her career choice entailed. Yeah, she’s playing with dolls, drawing pictures, likes candies and games, but she’s also considering more.
As educators, we understood this, more so as the years progressed. I’ve always taught the class cause and effect, to think for themselves, but also we challenge them when they do so. Why exactly do you think or believe that? What in your past and/or understanding causes you to come to that conclusion? You can actually talk to young people in this way. They understand. And in our classes, it seems, they came to enjoy because they began to realize understanding was fun. They had views that were worth listening to, but they also liked that we were both listening and challenging them. We didn’t’ want children to agree with points of views without thinking. We wanted them to understand. If they agreed with views, that was okay as long as they understood. And if they disagreed, that was okay as long as they understood why. Growing up takes time, and learning to consider and really look is important. But of course, we also want the kids to be kids and enjoy their lives. Responsibly.
To those considering becoming a teacher, we offer to always be mindful that kids are kids, that their innocence should be protected, but raising the level of talks. We can often talk to kids just like we would talk to adults, teaching them about current events and world events. Of course, we’re more careful with the youth, but encouraging them to think and consider goes a long way to helping them with their problem solving skills and academic grades. Like the old saying, give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime. Well, encourage kids and teens to consider and understand, solving problems, and they become able to solve their own challenges as they grow up. Life skills for life. When two kids are having difficulties, be there, and have them talk with each other for solutions, you the arbiter. If they figure it out, they learn more and more to solve their own problems. Class management becomes a joy.
One more thing. Growing up, as we all know, is a process. And teaching, which gives teachers the opportunity to watch these processes develop is enjoyable. Seeing them, when they’ve grown up and made good decisions is very rewarding.