the front row

What did it take to get over being shy—-(this question references a comment to my blog a few weeks ago) —and move to the front row.

I guess the main thing was gaining confidence. I was a teacher’s aide for six or seven years when the principal suggested I get my teaching certificate and get better pay as a teacher. He had seen me working in all the classrooms and with all sorts of kids, including the “wonderful fun” of playground and lunch duty.

By the time my kids had reached high school the idea became possible. I went attended summer school for several years taking whatever was available towards my certification. My oldest was in college and the other three in high school when I did my student teaching  during the school year.

I had worked so much with kids that when I began the Ed degree, I felt I had a good idea what it was all about. I sat in the front row and contributed to class discussions. So I guess the answer is confidence.

My daughter,Katie, taught me about the kids in the back row. She was a junior in high school and was asked to tutor a younger student in math. I wasn’t sure how she would handle this so I asked her after the first session what she did.

“I asked the girl where she sat in class. In the back of course. I told her to move up one row the next time.”

Each week the girl moved up a row and finally Katie told her to ask a question. .What amazing insight from a teen… she was right. I am not sure my conversation with her put me in the front row, but it was about that time that I started taking Ed classes.

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8 Responses to the front row

  1. Elizabeth G says:

    You have an incredibly wise and intuitive daughter. If only every child would move up a row a week and ask a question. I agree….confidence tends to be the key to being in the front row. Unless your child is the one on stage, then it’s just pride. Thank you for sharing and congrats on your journey to teaching. I’m sure that you brought more experience to the discussions when you began your Ed Degree….I wish we could all have that strong background before beginning.

  2. What a wonderful way to share and connect with your daughter. I don’t think that either of you will ever forget this experience… moving up to the front is so liberating. I remember doing that in a mime class I took in Boston one summer. Baby steps…
    Bonnie

  3. Linda Baie says:

    Thank you for telling us how you came to teaching, and for answering my question. It’s so interesting to me how and why people change. I, like Elizabeth, imagine that you had much to say from experience during your classes, & that made the classes better for everyone. There is research about who sits where in class, and the grades they earn. Your daughter gave such wise advise; seems as if she was already observing and making choices.

  4. Deb Day says:

    Very wise words–move up a row! And as a teacher, it’s sometimes necessary to teach to the back row! Sometimes I walk to the back of the room and teach beside those kids. It’s amazing the wonderful things they think and say when they are in the front!

  5. DonnaSmith says:

    I used to tell my first graders that if they sat in the front and not too far put to the sides, they would be able to learn things more easily. It’s how I judge, as a teacher, how involved a student feels. It is why kids are better behaved also in classes where the teacher moves around – essentially making the whole room the front row.
    Fun that you wrote about the front row today and I wrote about the back seat!

  6. Mariah C. says:

    Your daughter is so smart! What great advice. Sometimes it takes courage, because you feel like you’re throwing yourself into unfamiliar territory, but, boy, does it pay off! Thank you for sharing your story.

  7. I, too, am amazed by your daughter’s wisdom. What a simple idea–it is sort of symbolic of increasing engagement. They way you told the story of your own journey to becoming an educator alongside your daughter’s advice is so powerful.

  8. Mrs. L says:

    Very wise insight indeed! I just had parent/teacher conferences and one parent is really trying to encourage their child to ask questions. Unbeknownst to the child we are ganging up. Mom is encouraging at home and I am being extra purposeful about calling on them. We’ll see if it gets them ‘up a row’.

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