Thursday, January 17, 2013

Saying yes.

Spending 10 days with a toddler over winter vacation, I worked hard on not saying "no" too often. Then, I came back to work and realized, even in 3rd grade, it takes a great deal of effort to not say "no" too often.

As a teacher, it's my job to guide and lead children forward. To set boundaries, to help them learn how to interact in school, in life.

But, often this role requires saying no, quite a bit. "no, you need to sit down and listen/read/work." "no, you may not call out" "no, you need to do this as I am asking."

But then, as I looked around my room, and looked at my students, I realize that part of what helps them succeed and thrive and learn and grow is the fact that as a teacher, I say yes.

Real life is all about compromises, so why shouldn't teaching and learning?

You want to do your guided reading work laying on the floor, under a desk? yes, you may!
You need to use an e-tablet to help you do your writing task? yes, you may, and I can't wait to read what you can write with your tablet!
You need to wiggle as you learn? of course you can, here's a leg band or a seat cushion to help you wiggle as you sit!
You need to learn through games and hands-on activities rather than traditional seat work? awesome, that's great and I love teaching that way!

I find that by saying yes to my students, it makes them more willing to say yes back to me.  In return, I then find that my students are more willing to take risks and try something more challenging. Knowing that I listen and am willing to meet them half way makes them more willing to do the same.

Teaching is about helping children, of all abilities, access the world around them. Having a set agenda and saying no all the time doesn't get me or them anywhere!

Try saying yes a little more to your students, that's my challenge to you. I really try to say it more than I say no and as a result, my classroom looks nothing like the traditional sitting in rows, completing worksheet classroom. But, my students feel safe, they feel respected, and they feel happy and ready to learn. And you know what? They do learn.
Little by Little

22 thoughts on the matter:

Buckeroomama said... {Reply}

Your kids are lucky to have you for their teacher.

As a parent, I find myself saying no often (too often!), so this post is a good reminder to pick my battles and say "Yes" more. =)

Cathy H. said... {Reply}

It sounds like your students are blessed to have you as their teacher. In a world full of negativity, you're positive attitute will make a lasting impact on their lives! Keep up the good work!

Sian said... {Reply}

I agree with you 100%!!! With my kids at home and when I was teaching I was always glad when I did this! Great work xxx

Kim Stevens said... {Reply}

Oh Tamar, I know I sound like a broken record when I say this, but you are such a blessing to those students. This reminds me of a class my husband and I took when my daughter was in Kindergarten (at the school) called love and logic. It teaches that love and consequences to the teaching, much like you are doing with your students. Letting your students choose (within the realm of what is okay with you) helps them to make good decisions and learn from the consequences of what they choose.

We surely need more teachers like you who are passionate about what they do!!

Kim C. said... {Reply}

You are so wise because this is so true! It is often hard to strike the right balance with no and yes. No often wins. Thanks for the reminder today.

tinajo said... {Reply}

It´s great that you´ve come so far in finding your teacher identity! :-)

Pieni Lintu said... {Reply}

You are such a cool teacher!!! <3

Mary Gene Atwood said... {Reply}

I couldn't agree more! Different styles of learning require different approaches. Good for you for recognizing the needs of students. It's not easy, but as I've said many times, a classroom that is too quiet is scary for me! I like cooperative learning, and letting children express (within boundaries) themselves. Bravo Tamar, you are on the right track, and your kids are lucky to have you!

tiarastantrums said... {Reply}

oh you would love my classroom then - my DD9 can not sit down and do work - never. Not in her DNA. She is up - with her legs practically on top of her head most of the time!Too funny!

Renae at simple sequins said... {Reply}

hi Tamar! Great post. and "YES" I agree with you.

Susan said... {Reply}

Great job finding the variety of learning styles in your classroom. Often times as a music teacher, I couldn't give in to these due to the super limited time I had with my students and the necessity for whole group instruction. Sounds like you're hitting the balance. My students enjoyed "rules" to know where the boundaries were, but loved that by working within the rules, there could be a lot of freedom.
These kiddos will be thankful that you were their teacher, no doubt.

Pride In Photos said... {Reply}

So funny how you are talking about this. My daughter and I discussed the same topic last night over the phone. I felt when I was raising my girls all I did was say no. Now as a grandmother all I do is say Yes!♥

Melissa Bliss Rich said... {Reply}

So right you are! You are a wonderful teacher. I wish more adults had your perspective on the subject.

One reason we homeschool is so that our kids can enjoy those kinds of allowances. As a mom and teacher though, it can be tough to balance healthy boundaries and let them grow in their own way. I know I don't always get it right, but I keep trying :)

Nicky @ Awesomeville.co.uk said... {Reply}

WAY OF THE MASTER! I wish I didn't say no as often as I do.

Rachel said... {Reply}

I LOVE THIS.

I am so thankful that there are teachers like you... what a blessing you are to your students!

Michaela said... {Reply}

oh god forbid, all those things did never happen in our classroom when we were in primary.. probably don't happen even now..

Secret Mom Thoughts said... {Reply}

Your students are lucky to have you for a teacher.

Anita Johnson said... {Reply}

Yes, this made me very happy! (o:

Deanna said... {Reply}

I wish more teachers felt the same way, I think we would have brighter, more innovative and "outside the box" thinkers if they did. Kudos to you, Tamar

Gina @ Kleinworth & Co. said... {Reply}

So true. It is funny how that works huh?!

edenhills said... {Reply}

So nice of you so share this with us!

Life with Kaishon said... {Reply}

I am sending this out into twitter right this second. What a great teacher you are Tamar. Thank you for saying yes as much as possible!