At Kid2KidLit, we base our decisions around the thought, "what will make this experience better for children?" This was my driving principle in my 33-year teaching career and still is in my last four years as a Kid2KidLit Co-founder.
Recently I have found myself, once again, reflecting on this, How can I make this experience better for children? So here is some of my thinking.
If we ask children to be full of wonder, we need to be full of wonder. Nobody likes a know-it-all. Even, or perhaps especially, if that person is your teacher/coach/mentor, find something new to ignite your growth and curiosity as often as possible.
If you want to be interesting, do interesting things. If you're going to be interesting, do interesting things. Not all things cost money, and it doesn't have to be expensive, just interesting.
The joy is in the little things. Share a fancy pencil, make a special notebook, give a special sticker to a child. The joy for me is in the giving. I AM FILLED WITH JOY when I hand children these items and see how excited their little faces are with new writing tools.
Relationships matter. The right teacher can change a child's entire educational trajectory. I want to thank Tamara Jaimes, my daughter's third-grade teacher. I have also seen this happen in my classroom and colleagues' classrooms.
A friend of mine, a second-grade teacher, recently shared a story with me. She had given her class a spring break challenge. She told them how many pages she would read over break and asked them to see if they could read even more. As the Friday of Spring Break approached, a student's mom asked her son if he wanted to start the break off with cookies and milk. The child responded, "Mom, we can't have cookies and milk because I need to read for the challenge." This teacher has changed this child's life in the best of ways.
We can't all be the perfect teacher/mentor/coach/parent for each child, but we can certainly put forth the effort. Be like the Army motto: Be all you can be...in a child's life.