Success… in your child’s eyes

Hello folks! It’s been a good long while, thanks to busy things happening in my uneventful life!

Just a quick post today about success from your child’s point of view…

Have you ever thought about this:  when we teach, we want our children to rise to what we consider to be success for them.  We rarely ever think about the child’s own feelings about his success.  Your idea of success might not be his idea of success.  Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting the child to reach our goals.  It’s a part of teaching, isn’t it?  But let’s step into your child’s mind for awhile and see what it’s like for him.

You give him something new, something he’s never done before—let’s say, tying his shoelaces—and you teach him how to do it.  Your idea of success is that he at least be able to tie a knot (and for some of the more ambitious teachers, a ribbon).  But what is his idea?

To him, to be able to understand what tying shoelaces is all about, first of all, is already a success.

To be able to untangle the strings and know which to hold in which hand is already a success.

To be able to know which hand to cross over which is already a success.

You see where I’m going?  To achieve success with children, we have to go at their pace and think at their level.  After teaching for about three years now, I have come to recognise the SOS signal that tells me my student has lost touch:  that blank, questioning, half-guilty look.  Whenever I get that, I remind myself, “Slow down, Teacher Sue, go back and check where you left gaps.  Stop driving at the goal.”  And we go back over what we have covered so far.  In my mind, I review my teaching strategies and reset learning goals.  We talk and find out where I made that quantum leap and left him behind.  And we start at that gap, fill it in, and move on.  Nowadays, I’m constantly doing that while I teach… almost by habit.  I’ve found that it has helped me cover so much more ground more effectively with my students.

OK, back to success.  So try to see things from his viewpoint.  Try to remember that every little successful step is an achievement for him.  And remembering that, don’t be so disappointed if he cannot reach your idea of success at first.  Don’t put him down for not being able to do it.  Remember, he has succeeded, just not up to your level yet.  Don’t kill his interest by telling him that he’s lousy.  Encourage him.  Tell him he’s almost there, and that he’ll get there pretty soon.  And for yourself, plan for the success.  Try to adjust your goals to suit his learning style, and you’ll get there indeed.  Maybe not this time, maybe not the next time, but pretty soon!

All the best to you, and thank you for reading!

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