Saturday, February 14, 2015
Saturday Sayings: Listening
We had just finished reading our weekly big book for the second day in a row. I was ready with a mini-lesson about compound words since there were several in the book, but first I had to ask a question that I find myself asking more and more even to the point of putting it in my lesson plans. "What do you notice?" Cooper raised his hand. I can always count on him to notice something. "I noticed that if you put two words together it makes one big word." Thrilled, I said, "Cooper, I was hoping someone would notice that!" I pulled out a piece of paper where I had already written a handful of compound words from the big book. I wrote his words at the bottom of the paper, and Cooper became our teacher that day. I'm so glad I asked the right question and stopped to listen.
I share that moment because it reminds me that though I teach with a sense of urgency, as Regie Routman advises, and believe in teaching as efficiently as I can, I must strive for an important balance that allows for listening as well, like Donald Graves admonishes.
I was reminded of this balance last week when I posted about the importance of being a highly effective and efficient teacher. I love what a few of my fellow colleagues said regarding that post. Miss Trayers commented how she encourages questions from her students that sometimes create tangents, and Barb mentioned the importance of a relaxed atmosphere while still maintaining pace. They both make great points. Being efficient does not mean racing through the day. I know I can be guilty of that from time to time.
My goal is to be both efficient and willing to give the kids a voice at the same time. Here's a thought. Doesn't it make sense that the more efficient I am, the more time I will have for the all-important skill of listening? Like Cooper demonstrated, kids have important things to say.