Not many of us get the chance to see schooling from three different perspectives.
We all have those haunting memories of being a child and having to get up each morning to the cries of “get up, breakfast is ready” as our parents try to motivate us to crawl out of bed.
Fast forward 20 years. I’ve graduated and am running a household with my own school aged son and it was now me saying “come on, get out of bed, breakfast is ready”. I finally understood why my parents were so insistent to get us all up, fed, out the door, and on the bus so that they could head off to work. Then the day finally came when he graduated and was out on his own.
You’d think that would be the end of the story and I’d turned the page on that chapter of life, wouldn’t you? No chance! Once more comes that familiar cry of “come on, time to get up and get ready for school”. This time though, the voice cannot be heard by anyone but me – the teacher!
If you read my last entry, you’ll know that after a decade of working in the television industry (which is what I trained to do at Mohawk), then 20 years of working in IT and telecommunications (while raising my son), I finally finished my BA and B.Ed. and became a teacher. This, dear readers, is how I find myself here in Oxford, England, teaching a class of 6-8 year old Special Needs students.
We all take for granted that learning is an ongoing process. Someone shows you something, you try it out for yourself, and you remember it.
There are whole libraries of psychology books that outline cognition and the many different learning styles people may have. I know; we had to cover all that in teacher’s college! What can be hard, though, is to break down those learning steps for a child who has one or more problems in perception, memory, cognitive development, language, or comprehension.
You probably learned more in your first 2 years than you have since that age. What would happen if something outside of your control had disrupted that process?
Consider 5 dimes. You know that can mean 5 coins, 5 x 10₵, 50 cents, a half a dollar, or even the number 50. It would take you less than a second to come up with all those options. Now ponder for a second that you haven’t yet grasped the idea that 5 items can be represented by the written number 5, let alone the monetary value of these small, round pieces of metal. It can really stretch the imagination on how to explain many of these concepts that we take for granted.
I know that my students are all eager to learn, so that is why each day can be a challenge in creativity and imagination. Luckily, I am fortunate enough to be in a school where we have the staff, support, and resources to make a difference. For that, my students and I are very thankful as this new school year begins.
– Bob Houghton
Broadcasting – Television & Communications Media, ’81