At dinner one evening in the fall of her high school sophomore year my daughter Lizzie said, “The new science teacher is not a good teacher. He just isn’t teaching right. I can’t understand what he is trying to do.” Continue reading
Chloe went to the large urban grade school, and her parents were very engaged in her “education.” In fourth grade when Chloe’s homework was too easy, her parents sent notes to the teacher. When she came home from school to report that the work was stupid, the parents set up a parent-teacher conference. Finally, in fifth grade they sent her to a school for gifted and talented kids that focused exclusively on making sure that each student was challenged academically.
Chloe’s social skills (never her strong point) became weaker and weaker, Continue reading
Marty Dutcher, a colleague whose first career was early childhood education, told me about a guy named Tom he used to hang out with in his twenties. Tom especially liked to listen to Marty play the guitar.
On one day when Marty asked him to sing along, he said “I can’t. I’m tone deaf.”
“Who told you that,” asked Marty,
“My first grade teacher,” his friend replied.
“She was wrong. She shouldn’t have said that,” said Marty.
“No, really, I am.”
“No, really you are not. If you were tone deaf, you wouldn’t enjoy my music,” said Marty, who then proved to him that he wasn’t. Continue reading
Thirty-four years ago Brian and several of his first grade classmates were “put on the bleachers” after gym class for what Ms. Tough, the P.E. teacher, felt was some ‘inappropriate’ behavior. Then, it seems, she forgot they were there. Recess came and went, and still they sat and waited as they were told. But after 20 minutes or so, Brian decided this had gone on long enough, went to the bathroom, and slipped out the back door of the gym unnoticed. Continue reading
Parents and teachers would do well to observe Yom Kippur all year round
A two-year-old boy entered a Montessori classroom clinging to his mother. While she talked to the teacher, he hung on her leg looking anxiously around the room. He cried when she left and glued himself to the window. One teacher remained seated eight feet away, calmly watching, waiting, engaging with a student who showed her an apple, then helping another unscrew a cap.
What would you make of this bad behavior?
Ashley was pushing her daughter Ella in the stroller through Nordstrom to the men’s department to buy a shirt for father’s day.
At the foot of the escalator Ella said: “Can we go up to the video?”
“Not this time, Sweetie,” responded Ashley. “I want you to stay with me, so I can just find a shirt for Daddy, and then we can go.” Continue reading
Finding genius is not about finding ability. Finding genius is about unlocking the creative potential of the human brain.
Bob and Carol have a blended family with two children each. Carol’s son Ben at 13 is the oldest of the four. Both parents work, so one of the challenges they have is having family time, all six of them together. Another challenge is finding time to be alone—just the two of them.
One Sunday, recently, Ben was ragging on his mother Continue reading
How do I get my child to behave? How do I teach my child to be polite or thoughtful of others? Is spanking ever O.K.? How do I get my children to practice the piano or do their homework? How do I get them to do anything or even listen to me? What do I do when they’re bad? What kind of discipline should I use?
Do I back off or get in their face like a “tiger mom?” How can we exercise parental authority so that our children will become authorities themselves? It’s actually not hard; it’s just tricky. Don’t get mad; get creative. Continue reading