Friday, June 14, 2013

Labels, labels, labels...

Good morning! I hope you are doing well! It's full swing summertime here in Florida. That translates into hot, muggy, hot, buggy, hot...oh, and did I mention, hot? :)

A comment from this post on our education journey got me thinking. The comment was about content area and being "better" at one thing versus another. Hmmmmm.....sound familiar to anyone? Were you in the "fast" reading group or the "slow" math group? (Can you tell that these were my labels?!)

In our house, we have/had "slow" readers, "advanced" at math, "talkers", "movers", "daydreamers", "shy", "social" kids. Do you remember those types labels from your school days? As in, "Jane does well in reading group, but doesn't apply her full potential in math. If she spent less time talking with her friends, she'd learn more." Or something along those lines.

I think back as an adult to how teacher's perceptions of me influenced my education during my school years. I was "good" at reading and language arts. Not so much in math. I recall with crystal clarity the day that I stopped trying at math. My fourth grade teacher, seeing that I was upset over a long division problem, attempted to console me. Her words: "It's ok. Girls don't have to be good at math or science." Me, in my head: "Ahhhh!!! Perfect, because I hate this stuff!" Now, this wasn't THAT long ago, the mid-80's, She wasn't THAT old, either, perhaps mid 30's- but it was a time of stereotypical teaching (guess what? It hasn't changed much). She definitely should've known better than to say that to an 8 year old child!

Now, jump to the present. When one of our "bad" math students complains about how math is worse than death itself, or at least as bad as unloading the dishwasher, we tell them, "yes, math can be hard for some of us. Want me show you some tricks that have worked for us?" We encourage them to find answers, to work at it. We also let them know that different people have different abilities and that's ok!!! They don't have to be the best at math (or what have you), but, they do have to give it their best.

In our house, in our "school", we celebrate the individual and respect strengths and weaknesses. We recognize that we are each uniquely and wonderfully made. That is to be celebrated. Who knows which path a child will take...sculptor? Computer programmer? Photographer? Teacher? Farmer? Who can say? It's our job to guide them, encourage them, teach them HOW to learn (as opposed to WHAT to learn). No labels necessary!

Warmest Wishes,
~Bella & Sugar

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