Four thoughts on “how daycare helps me grow as a classroom teacher”

I’ve written about this before, but I’m still growing a lot as a teacher due to my experiences with daycare. Some of the things I’ve been thinking about recently are the following:

1. Just how much of a priority it needs to be to work toward the goal of everyone truly enjoying being together. There is so much that goes into this work, but I’m more and more convinced that this is critical. Of course, this isn’t enough, but it’s an amazing catalyst and buffer. It’s often easy to get an overall picture of how this is going during official breaks–do students socialize?– and down time waiting for other groups to finish up (are they risking ways to stay engaged, or feeling relaxed, or feeling resentful and restless).

2. Reframing how I see “setting up”, “tearing down”, “cleaning up” the classroom from a regrettable chore to important detailed-oriented work of preparing the environment for learning. The space and arrangement of tools need to be curated and maintained. Sure, sometimes it feels like a chore, but keep my focus on big importance that chore serves helps.

3. Cultivating a working mindset and bodily feeling that minimizes macro and micro messages of annoyance, disappointment, and frustration. A colleague of mine describes this as “students feeling like you are on their side”. Traditional schooling dialogue can easily trap us into expressing disappointment.

4. The importance of “re-seeing” troublesome behavior as relating to unmet needs and/or skills not yet taught. We have a chart in our kitchen that helps to identify many behaviors through alternative lenses, which is really helpful. I feel like I could use one for the physics classroom. This means I should probably write one up. 😜

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