Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Obviously, there are some analogies between teaching and parenting. Often, good teaching advice and good parenting advice go hand in hand.

Sometimes, my students and my children annoy me. Sometimes they make me angry.

There are times, I suppose, when my annoyance or anger is justified and necessary.

There are times, however, when my negative reactions are unfair.

I wrote previously about a great poem that I read, that suggested that the greatness of a classroom is that it is an environment that allows people to make mistakes.

It is very liberating to make the deliberate decision to allow yourself to be imperfect; moreover, to accept the worthiness of your mistakes.

But I cannot stop at myself. I have to extend the same privledge to my students and my children (and everyone in my life). If I allow myself the luxury and safety of making mistakes, then I must extend this luxury and safety to everyone else.

My ideal classroom encourages risk-taking, autonomy and self-regulation. Since this is my goal, then it is unfair and illogical for me to get mad at my students for making mistakes or for doing "stupid" things. Sometimes, they are just experimenting with the boundaries of behaviour, as they learn to become members of our society. Even the process of socialization requires mistakes.


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