Tuesday, November 18, 2014

When Does a Teacher Mind Turn Off?

When Does a Teacher Mind Turn Off?

For the most part, having a teacher mind (thinking like a teacher, watching like a teacher, analyzing like a teacher) is a good thing.  With a teacher mind, we are able to catch on to many things that other people may not catch on to.  

·      -   I am able to recognize when a kid may not have enough clothes at home
·       -  I am able to see the brain turning in little five year old minds
·        - I love the question “Why?” and answering it
·         -I find ways to integrate reading into everyday activities
·         -I see endless opportunities to count and compare objects
·         -I know that kids aren’t mad “just because” & I look for the reason behind things
·         -A shoe needs tied, no problem
·         -Snot, doesn’t scare me
·         -A kid is struggling with a concept, I can think of numerous other ways to explain it
·         -Finding a way to learn in every situation
·         -I can think on the spot
·        - When a kid is getting bored, I have so many brain break ideas

My teacher mind never goes off.  Babysitting, I am thinking like a teacher.  Why are the siblings fighting?  What just made her cry?  How many cupcakes could we buy with the allowance we got?  Our pizza cost $18 and I paid $20, how much change should I get?  There are endless opportunities for learning to occur.  Now, I don’t always take these opportunities, but with a teacher mind, I notice they are there.*
*I know you don’t have to be a teacher to think this way, just many teachers do

Now, I realized just recently that there is a problem with this teacher mind all the time.  I can’t seem to turn it off.  For the longest time, I never saw why this would be a bad thing.  It doesn’t hurt to think that way as long as I am not constantly drilling kids with knowledge and information everyone needs fun in life.  But there is a problem with always thinking this way.

I was recently at a sporting event with my older brother.  We were having a good time, cheering on our team, and just enjoying ourselves.  At the beginning of the game I noticed a young boy sitting in front of us, just a few seats over.  He had a notebook and was jotting down things the whole time.  I couldn’t really tell what.  My older brother said he must just be in a fantasy league and shrugged it off.

Me, with my teacher mind, I couldn’t do that.  I kept glancing over as the game went on.  He was always scribbling things down.  When I was able to get a closer look, I noticed he was writing the alphabet many different ways (this boy had to have been in middle or high school), and had random lines and scribbles everywhere.  I knew that he had some logic to it and each mark was carefully made.

With my teacher mind, I wondered, and I wondered.

What is this boy doing?  What do those marks mean?  What is causing him to do this?  Is he focusing on the game?  I wonder how he best learns?  I wonder what he is interested in?  And the thoughts went on

As I thought about it later that night, I thought to myself what a horrible person I am!

My brother just sees a kid writing during a sport event and assumes it is stats or something for a fantasy league me, I wonder, I question, I am curious.

As I thought about it, I realized I am practically “judging” kids.  

-I see a kid reading a chapter book at dinner, and I wonder, I question, and I am curious.
-I see a kid throwing a tantrum at a park, and I wonder, I question, and I am curious
-I see a kid playing on an iphone, and I wonder, I question, and I am curious
-I see a kid jotting at a game, and I wonder, I question, and I am curious
and the list goes on.

Kids are kids.  We aren't here to teach everyone.  We have our class and our teacher mind helps us greatly with our own students.  It is not my place to “judge” these other kids.  I miss the innocence of seeing a kid and thinking the best and moving on.  Sometimes, my teacher mind gets the best of me.

When does a teacher mind turn off?