Zen and the Art of Teaching Second Grade

School started this past week and my mornings are spent in a 2nd grade boys class. The teacher is male, not female. For background, last year my mornings were spent in a 1st grade boys class with a female teacher who is one of the most miserable people I have ever encountered. The daily level of tension was sky high, her meanness knew no bounds, her inability to see the world in nothing but black and white with no shades of grey, dumbfounding. The stars were aligned though, and it turned out for this school year there would only be two 1st grade classes not 3, and so one of the teachers would have to go. I was veryย vocal with the administration about what was going on in the classroom, so at the end of last year she was told she was out. I then moved to 2nd grade (along with some of the boys I had in 1st)

The 2nd grade classroom is in complete contrast to my experience last year. The teacher speaks softly and calmly. He is caring and understanding while at the same time sets limits. In 4 days time I have watched how he was able to get a child who was completely disconnected, to the point of laying across his desk and under it, to participating and answering questions. His mother told the teacher Thursday night at Back to School Night, that her son told her, “My teacher thinks I am smart, he likes my answers.” How did this occur? Because he knows that by building up a child and encouraging him in small ways, you can reap the benefits. By being consistent without yelling and punishing you can get results. By being kind and understanding and considering the child, his feelings, who he is, you can hone into his needs and reach him. By being flexible and not sweating the small stuff things can work out.

I thanked him on Friday for a beautiful week- filled with positivity, calm and just an all around “zen” feel. What a difference a year makes and what a great example of someone to learn from and emulate.

 

26 thoughts on “Zen and the Art of Teaching Second Grade

  1. How lucky for you and all those children in his class! I wish my youngest son had had the benefit of someone like this current teacher in his life. Instead he had a succession of last year’s model.
    When mom tells you that you are smart and capable, it’s not the same as validation in the classroom.

    It sounds like you are going to have a much happier year!

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  2. Thank goodness that the bad teacher is out. Thank you for speaking up, and thanks to the administration for dealing with it. They could have just as easily turned a blind eye.

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  3. Having lived through the experience of two sons having gone through the Public School system I know how right you are. Let’s hope that this teacher doesn’t lose his perspective. By the way, is he new to teaching or a veteran?

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  4. Wow! It is like he read your caring mind and answered your prayers (hopes) for a new and improved teacher to work with! So happy for you, Lisa. ๐Ÿ’ ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  5. wow – this is so amazing accomplishments and presentation. Your message is deeply beautiful and sincere. Bravo and keep up your excellence work!

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  6. Oh, Lisa, I am so happy for you. I am glad you like the teacher and more importantly, I am happy that you donโ€™t have to deal with the teacher of last year.

    โ€œMy teacher thinks I am smart,โ€ that makes all the difference in the world.

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  7. Good teachers in the early grades are SO important. Later teachers may make a bitter intellectual dent, but you guys are often the only people to shed light in a child’s world. Mean teachers in elementary school need to move somewhere else. Preferably OUT of teaching!

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  8. Lisa, I remember your struggles last school year, all I can say is yay that the bully teacher is out. Best wishes for this new school year for you. โค๏ธ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

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  9. Lisa–this was wonderful to read. I did wonder about that teacher from last year–I remember all you went through with her. Yay! A teacher who can relate. So happy for you and for the kids. Win win!

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