Saturday, August 17, 2013

Saturday Sayings: A Fan of Independence



Three years ago one of my boys dropped his whiteboard marker under his desk and didn't know what to do about it.  Needless to say, I didn't recover it for him.  I'm such a fan of independent first graders and have been for years.  Janice Sullivan, one of my favorite mentors, told me ages ago never to do something for a child that they could do for themselves.  It's almost like she and Regie were comparing notes.

Unfortunately, I've noticed an increase in the number of helpless little ones who don't know how to do things for themselves.  I'm guessing they've been hanging out with well-meaning adults who do most everything for them.  The lunchroom alone is proof that this problem is on the rise. Not a day goes by that I don't see several milk bottles, bags of chips, and other miscellaneous items being held in the air, waiting for an adult to come to their rescue.  There are adults who run to and fro doing just that, but I am not that adult.  I'll either say, "You give it a go" or show them how to get started and then expect them to take over.  "Aren't you glad I didn't do that for you?  You would have never found out the amazing things you can do all by yourself."  And of course their proud smile sends the message that I was right.  (When it comes to the small plastic cups of fruit, it's a different story.  Those are hard for even me!)  I could go on with examples of the ways adults teach children to be dependent on them (even in the classroom) but in the end, I believe it's a great disservice that can eventually leak into the way children approach learning.  


Pin It!

20 comments:

  1. I like this so much. There are so many well meaning adults trying to help students out. I have to watch myself with this and reading strategies. Teach them how to help themselves and then expect them to use those strategies. :)
    Lori
    Conversations in Literacy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lori, I know what you mean about reading strategies. Helping kids too much doesn't do them much good.

      Delete
  2. I couldn't agree with you more!! I think oftentimes teachers and parents think they're helping their child when their time could be so much better spent fostering independence. My kiddos learn quickly that I will not do things for them that they can do!

    Thank you for sharing this! :)

    Rachel
    A-B-Seymour

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Rachel, parents and teachers do mean well, but like you said, fostering independence would be much more helpful. :)

      Delete
  3. Another great Saturday quote! I have always been a huge proponent of letting kids be independent. I am never surprised by what they can do....and they usually do it in a better way than I if I had just done it!

    Laurie
    Chickadee Jubilee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Laurie, I like that..."I'm never surprised by what they can do." Great!

      Delete
  4. Love this! I feel like sometimes I get looks from other people when I'm letting my daughter be independent in public. She does get frustrated at times, but I love her face when she accomplishes something herself! As a teacher, I love that motto of not doing something for kids that they can do themselves! Thank you for sharing!

    Heather
    www.heatherbush18.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heather, it's a great face isn't it? :)

      Delete
  5. I completely agree with you! Imagine what it's like teaching junior high with kids who expect others to do for them...and have learned excuses because of it. My mantra is "figure it out"...and they usually do!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer, I can only imagine what helpless junior high kids are like. Ugh. :)

      Delete
  6. You (and Regie) are so right! It amazes me the things kiddos ask for help with...then when you encourage them to give it a try they are doubtful at first. It is fun to see them accomplish those small things on their own!

    Crystal

    Teaching Little Miracles

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crystal, I know what you mean. When they figure out how smart they are when they try, it's pretty cool.

      Delete
  7. Very true. It always amazes me how that's their first reaction-ask for help-especially in that cafeteria. Sometimes I think too, parents want them to stay "babies"-or they feel like they are being better moms by doing it for them.

    NotJustChild'sPlay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Miss Trayers, I agree. They do mean well but what a disservice.

      Delete
  8. I'm with you on this one. I don't do anything for my kids that they can do for themselves. Sometimes I won't do it even if they can't...for example...today I had one of my 2nd graders as me to tie his shoes. I told him he was too old to be asking others to ties his shoes. So, he tucked his laces inside his tennis shoes.
    Connie Anderson:)
    Welcome To First Grade Room 5

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Connie, I'll help my first graders tie their shoes, but I'll also tell them that I can't follow them around for the rest of their lives tying them, so their homework is to learn how. :)

      Delete
  9. Replies
    1. Barb, I'm not surprised! We tend to agree with one another. :)

      Delete