Would You Rather?

As you know my word for 2018 is time. Since the start of the new year I’ve spent a lot of time away from my computer, away from social media, and away from things that might fill my brain with too much to think about! (I already do too much thinking on my own, LOL!)  Also, I’ve taken on a new job, so keeping the harmony and balance I worked hard to achieve during my sabbatical is how I’ve focused my time. I’m so grateful for that time, and I’m also grateful for the new opportunity with this job.

Would you rather your child(ren) have teachers who love him/her, or teachers who push your child(ren) academically?

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This is a lofty question that I have been thinking about A LOT as my child has entered the public school system this year. It’s a question I’ve been asked as a parent (more than once), it’s also a question I’ve always asked as an educator, trying to look at parental perspectives. It’s also a question that doesn’t have a cut and dry answer. As parents and educators, growing the same human beings, I think we all want what is best for the children. However that doesn’t look the same for every child at the same time. (And our own fears and insecurities get in the way #truth)

Recently, a friend and I were talking about this question and my immediate answer was, “Right now, when my child is 4 years old, I would rather have a teacher who loves my child and teaches her kindness, compassion, and empathy. All of the academics will come. To me, it’s more important to teach a  young child these social emotional lessons, so that when academics get harder, more challenging, they can cope.” I continued to add that when my child is older, I do want teachers who can push her and challenge her in a healthy way.

When I left our conversation, I continued to think about this question. ( I know, I think waaaay too much!) I even thought about how my answer has changed. I want to trust my child’s teachers to know when she is ready to be challenged, and to love her enough to do so. I think hope I’ve communicated this with her teachers. I’m trying.

I had this conversation with another parent and naturally, her response was that she wanted both, teachers who love and challenge her children. Then I had this epiphany!

What if as parents and teachers we give children both love and challenges, but we might go through ebbs and flows. Let me explain. Let’s say your child has a teacher who is really strict, or really stressed and can’t find the space to love on your child at school. However this teacher has really high expectations because he/she knows that students can rise to the occasion. Maybe that’s the year or the grade where as a parent, you are the lover. Your role is to show your child love, compassion, empathy for the challenges of school, but you don’t have to be the slave driver at home when it comes to school work. Then let’s say that another year or grade level your child has a teacher who is loving, yet might not have all of the instructional expectations to challenge and push your child. This is the year that at home, your role is to push, challenge, and find ways to enrich the daily education. And that doesn’t mean that you, the parent, have to be the teacher, you might reach out to other resources such as friends, tutors or learning centers who can help!

Growing humans is REALLY tough work. If anyone tells you differently, they’re in denial! As parents we need to take a step back and reflect on what does my child need from me right now. As teachers we need to slow down and reflect on what do my students need from me right now. With love and healthy challenges, and TIME our children will succeed at this thing called life.

*Leave a comment to keep this conversation going, I’m curious what you think.

Author: Kristen Hahn

Creative and passionate realist. Daughter, Sister, Wife, and Mom. I believe in the power of our mindsets, education, and being the change we wish to see in the world. We do better and find more joy when we embrace our imperfections and speak up about what we want to change.

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