Second Week of the Year

Posted on: September 21, 2011

Week One went all of a rush and exhausting enough that nothing happened outside of the school. I am probably not alone when I say that physical exhaustion sent me to bed hours before bedtime, after sleeping on the couch for half an hour.

Week Two is now done and what have we learned?

Take a four year old boy in my class. No, seriously, please take him! He saw my iPad sticking out of my bag on the first day of school and gave me a ten minute talk on how he has Angry Birds on his and how to play it. I then go and ask him to find his seat and he can’t find it even though his name is on the table in both English and Arabic. Now, I have been teaching a long time and expect kids to walk into the classroom not being able to read their name especially in English. After all that is why we have them written on the desks. So why was I surprised that this particular boy couldn’t? Was it that he was so articulate in his spoken English? Was it that I had expected him to have used other apps on his iPad that would have started him reading at home? Was it that other children who hadn’t even dared to even say hello had accomplished this task on their own? I honestly can’t answer that question!

As I said two weeks have now gone by. What does and can this boy do now? What has changed in the last two weeks for him? Well, he now knows where he sits. Great! He can read his name and other children’s names well enough on books and pencils etc that he can hand them out at the beginning of a class. Fantastic! He is very articulate when speaking and obviously knows a lot from home or previous schooling. Brilliant! But he hasn’t mentioned his iPad since the second day, in fact none of the class ever mention what happens in their house at all. Strange? Maybe not.

If I think back to last year I can’t remember any of my students ever talking about home either. is it something that we do? Or something that happens in the home? Do they think as they act – that home and school are two completely different worlds that have no bearing on each other?

I am sure parents, just as mine did, ask their children “What did you do today in school?” But I am seriously asking the question, of myself and those reading this, why do we not ask “What did you do at home?” other than when we ask then to write about it. Sure, if I wanted to do this for all the children in both my classes we would never get any work done. Sixty kids is a lot if you are going to listen to them!

I think though that this year I am going to try and break down these barriers between school and home, even if the barriers have been mine in the making. Have I just not cared what happens to these kids once they leave the classroom? I would like to think that that is just not the case but… I think the evidence speaks for itself. I DON’T KNOW!

A challenge for me in this academic year. Maybe a challenge for you too?


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