Monday, March 30, 2015

The Car Pool Lane

I am a woman of forty-four years.  I am a teacher with nearly eleven years of experience.  I have fulfilled hours of babysitting and was a nanny.  But none of that helped today.

Two of my best friends are traveling and I am honored to be housesitting/dog sitting/ kid sitting for them for 4 days.  However, I learn poorly by being given verbal directions, preferring to observe the task or to try it the first time with supervision.  That was not possible this morning.  I needed to convey the family's eight year old to his school.  What a madhouse!  The street we approach on is perpendicular to his school which is on a busy street, and there is a stop sign for our direction but not the others.  There is also a left hand turn lane towards the street we are on.

Parents and small children darted out then jumped back as if they intuited that I was a dangerous novice participating in their morning routine.  This was anything but routine to me.  A kind stranger in the left lane impeded traffic on my behalf and we entered the stream approaching the school with our lives intact.

But then in the parking lot, there are multiple lanes.  Picture a small charter school with the kind of complex parking lot, lanes and lines one usually sees at a huge airport.  And I foolishly ask the eight year old which lane I should be in.  He vaguely points.  Is he enjoying my ineptitude?  I think so.

After depositing him I returned to my friends home to sooth my frayed nerves with coffee.  But did I mention I am spending the day with their sixteen year old, a girl I adore but who long ago figured out how lame I am?

But fortunately I am a basically positive person.  I can't help processing this morning as a metaphor for my classes.  Do I make assumptions about my student's ability to do ANY task simply because they have been students in the past?  Do I make allowances for auditory, visual, and tactile kinesthetic learners?  Do I abandon them in confusion with multiple possibilities for success or failure?  And because of this do they resort to seeking guidance from a source who is equally clueless, or has a different agenda?

Food for thought...

1 comment:

  1. I loved your metaphor for your classes! Perfect. I always loved when I realized I was in a position similar to ones I'd put my students in. Gave me a much clearer picture of how to go about helping them...much more compassionate after those illuminating moments!