Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Becoming a master teacher

I was watching an episode of Oprah this week, when a comment caught my attention. One of the teachers that were featured said that it took him three years to be a good teacher, and five to be a master teacher. I thought, "yes! Exactly right!" Even with my background as a preschool and transitional kindergarten teacher it has taken me till this year to be super confident in my teaching abilities. I now FEEL like a master teacher.

As a homeschool parent I am on a lot of homeschool email loops. Ive been paying more attention to the posts from new homeschoolers. I feel like one of those confident parents I used to envy. I now feel in the position to give advice. It's a good feeling, but I worry for these new parents. It is not easy being a new homeschooler, even with some teaching experience.

For a new homeschool parent it can be overwhelming. First there is the scary thought that you are directly responsible for your child(rens) education. I remember thinking that there would be no one to blame but myself if I was wrong about this being a better alternative. It did not occur to me at the time that I had been responsible already for my children's early education....something every parent should give yourself a pat on the back for!

So how do you reach this nirvana of teaching confidence?

For every parent it will be different. For me though it was a combination of things. It was the feeling of confidence in several areas. Housecleaning doesn't have a lot to do with teaching, except that feeling like I have a good routine down, and that my home does not suffer was important to me. Cooking doesn't have a lot to do with teaching, except feeling like I have dinner on the table while also juggling housekeeping, and homeschooling makes me feel like I have finally mastered the art of true multi-tasking.

As for the actual teaching part of homeschooling, it to has been a combination of experiences that have helped me to grow. I used to berate myself that I have switched our style, methods, and curriculum in our homeschooling years. I now see that all of this was just an evolution of our journey. I needed to go through these different experiences, and the kids DID NOT suffer for it. In fact, even when we went through periods where we did very little schooling, the children thrived. Parents should understand that it is okay to not "get it right-right away," when it comes to these issues.

I think that like any teacher, homeschool parents should consider themselves in training. It takes time to become a good teacher, especially a master! Give yourself time to experience, and even experiment. Read other homeschool blogs, check out teacher websites, join homeschool forums and utilize the experience of parents who have come before you. Don't be afraid to change curriculum or methods. Most of all, give yourself a break, literally and figuratively!

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