How to Keep Children from Plucking Your Last Nerve during #Covid-19
Home-Schooling, Distance Learning, & Literacy Engagement
Home-schooling and distance learning offer new opportunities to bond with our children and students – and also for us to snap on one another.
As an 18-year veteran of teaching and learning in classrooms, through literacy activism, and as an author, I have come to understand that the best way to succeed with children — at any time — is by adhering to The Higher Way.
The Higher Way means responding in a way that allows children to easily get back on track without feeling pressured, chastised, or humiliated. Importantly, it means responding in a way that gives them a say in how to proceed.
For instance, When Jared is not paying attention, drumming his fingers on the table, or tapping his feet; when Kayla is twisting her hair or making sucking sounds instead of focusing; this is the time to let your love and patience wrap around their sweet little souls like cotton candy on a paper stick.
Responses to nerve-plucking behavior could include: “How can I help you? You can do this. Would you like me to read today, and you just listen? It seems as if something is bothering you. Would you like to talk about it? Thank you for trusting me to help you. You’re doing great.”
Please understand how much power there is in your words and actions designed to open the door to a Higher Way. Without preaching, condemning, and often without even mentioning the challenging behavior on display, I have stopped elementary, middle-school and high-school students from cursing like sailors, from fighting every day, and from throwing tantrums using The Higher Way. Using The Higher Way, I’ve seen children go from refusing to read or write to reading and writing, and declaring their love for it.
Working lovingly and patiently with children means that we seek, always, to understand the child. We put ourselves in the child’s shoes. Empathize. Learning to read or write for children who have not yet grasped how is often painful. Understand that they are suffering almost every moment they sit with you and the work before them. Your extraordinary display of love and patience will ease that suffering, bit by bit, and slowly turn it to joy – which is critical to children’s success, the development of confidence, and their trust in you and themselves.
If we create children or students who do work but are miserable, we have failed. Because failure is not an option, we must stay on the love and patience track. Swallow our tongues. Sit on our hands. Breathe. And smile – smile a lot. Whatever it takes to let love and patience pour forth like the morning sun when inside we are a bit rattled, irritated, concerned, even annoyed.
We have everything to gain if, when they seem to go low, we go high.