Thursday, January 17, 2013

Teaching in the Every Day

This is a second installment of "The Visiting Classroom" - a new column for Switching Classrooms. We'll spotlight what every day parents are teaching in their classrooms.

January's Visiting Classroom is Meghan, who teaches two-year-old Carley every day.

1. Tell us about your daughter - how old? What are her favorite ways to learn? Favorite projects?
Carley turned 2 this past October. And she is EVERY bit of a two-year-old now! I have found that she learns REALLY quickly through song. If you can sing it in a song, she can learn it and repeat it quickly. For example, we taught her how to spell her name by singing it to the tune of the Mickey Mouse theme song. There is a lot of repetition that goes on daily….we are constantly singing the alphabet song/nursery rhymes/etc. or counting. Sometimes we’re counting objects she sees, other times we are just counting out loud. She shocked me by being able to count to 16 the other day….I had no idea she could do that!

 Her favorite project is coloring and stickers. She loves drawing and coloring and peeling stickers. She’s very crafty!

2. What life lessons are you trying to instill in her?
I really want her to be kind to everyone she meets. I worry about kids being mean when she is in school…..I want her to be nice to all the kids, especially the kids who don’t have friends.
I want her to love books and reading. I want her to see the value of being educated. I want her to feel free to explore and be creative. Mostly I just want her to follow her path in life and be happy.
3. In your previous life, you were an elementary teacher. What information would help readers with their children? What do teachers wish parents knew?
I wish that parents would be able to see teachers as partners in education and vice versa. I felt like a lot of the time parents would blame teachers for problems or come to conferences feeling defensive/combative and teachers often dreaded conferences for fear of being “attacked” when a child was struggling. I think that teachers and parents need to realize that everyone has the same goals: for children to be successful in the school setting. I understand that as a parent it’s hard to hear that your child is struggling and I would break my own heart to learn that Carley was having a hard time in a class. However, when a struggle comes to light, it’s better to have all the adults on the same side of the table, working to find a solution than to have teachers/parents feeling worthless because nobody is able to help.

I wish that parents knew how hard it is for teachers to see a child struggle. As a teacher I wasn’t just there to “babysit”….I really and truly wanted each child in my room to thrive….I wanted to make school a fun place to be and a great experience for each little person in my care. When I would see a child “not getting it” it wasn’t something I took lightly or brushed off as “no big deal”….I cared. I cared a great deal….I took that burden home with me many nights. If parents and teachers could focus less on “who’s to blame” for the gap in learning and focus more on “how can we all pitch in and help” I think our education system would be a lot better off.

Interested in being our spotlight "Visiting Classroom"? Email me at 

Meghan was born and raised in the Bloomington/Normal area. She attended Illinois State University and majored in Elementary Education. She then worked in corporate America for 18 months after graduation waiting to find a teaching job….and hated every minute of it. She was lucky enough to get hired for my first teaching job 3 days after the school year started. Despite the hectic start she settled in and found that her dream job was teaching first grade, and did so for 5 years. While her love for teaching grew during that 5 years, she also ended up falling in love with a boy and getting married in 2009. And, as so often happens when people get married, they had their first daughter in October of 2010. Suddenly, all priorities changed. She taught for another 18 months, before deciding to become a full time SAHM. A happy home-bound mama since May 2012, she teaches Carley every day and sells her creations at Crafting Crew.