Perhaps the most satisfying moment for a teacher is the most bittersweet. Much like a parent, a teacher must learn to let go and let their kids do for themselves. We are teachers – we teach students to do for themselves. If they never do for themselves, we haven’t taught them anything. We want to provide the scaffolding that we will eventually remove, or as I learned from the training Wednesday and Thursday, “fade.” We need to plan to fade our scaffolding. Children need to stand on their own. We can’t hold their hands their whole lives – that would be unfair to them by limiting their capabilities. Imagine a child capable of walking on his or her own that never gets the opportunity. What kind of parent would do that?
Sometimes our love for our children causes us to hold on too tight. We are afraid to let go. We don’t trust the world, or we think they might not be ready, or we are scared they will fall and get hurt (figuratively and literally). But that is no way to live. Eventually, children grow up and must learn to live on their own without us. I like to be needed. I like to help. But at times I realize that my helping is enabling, not really assisting a child to develop to his or her potential. It’s easy to do the task for someone, and frustrating when they aren’t ready to do it themselves. We like to spoon-feed answers, we like to keep our old habits, we like to have people depend upon us. However, doing this is harmful to children because it doesn’t prepare them to persevere. How unfair would it be to hold a child’s hand then throw them out into the world without us and expect them to stand on their own?
I realized today that PHS teachers can be like children when learning new things like Google Apps and Haiku. Not that they are immature or anything, just that it takes steps to learn something new.
And like children, if we help them too much, they won’t want to learn and explore on their own. For example, my students had a sub yesterday and I left the assignment on Google Classroom for them with directions. They were supposed to annotate an article on Google Docs and submit it in the folder they shared with me on their Google Drive.Well, I purposely did not explain what annotation was because I wanted to see if any of them knew it or would be able to figure it out. How many do you think were self-motivated and driven to research “annotations” on their own? Remember, they are working on Chromebooks that work directly with Google Search. All they had to do was type in “what is an annotation” into Google and surely they would have enough information to get an idea about what to do. I will teach them next week, but not one even tried to do the assignment. Two just assumed that “annotation” meant summary and wrote a paragraph. (?)
I am so glad to see PHS teachers learning and exploring on their own. Many of the questions I am asked can be easily answered by Googling the question or searching the Help topics on Haiku, but part of me likes to be needed and even though that’s all I will do to get the answer, I will share it and try to be very helpful. Maybe it would be a good idea to say “I’m not sure, let’s try it and see,” rather than “Here is the answer. You’re welcome?” Some teachers are pressed for time and need an instant answer, but does that prevent them from actually learning what to do?