During our weekly team check-ins, a colleague who teaches at our Healthy Start Child Development Centre commented that she probably needs to be livelier and more energetic to grab the attention of the children in her class. She also felt that her lessons may not have been interesting enough. I have not observed her at work but somehow it sounded like she was rating herself rather harshly. As I listened further, I gathered that she had a class of lively 3-year-olds and maintaining a supportive classroom environment for their learning was an ongoing challenge.
Other teachers who were present shared that children had different interests and it would certainly be easier to engage them if lessons were created around them and yes, they too felt that they had to act silly at times to gain their children’s attention. I was touched that these colleagues were constantly reflecting on how to be more effective teachers and I imagined that it must be difficult to be “entertaining” the same children all day long.
After hearing the others, my colleague who rated herself harshly, remarked that perhaps she just needed to bond differently with her children and will dedicate the last hour of the day to simply play with them. She figured that this shared experience would strengthen the teacher-student relationship and with that the children are more likely to give her their attention in the classroom.
Singapore commemorates Children’s Day today and our teacher colleagues have prepared child-size tote bags filled with snacks, stationery, and old-school toys as a gift for every child. To impress on the children that they are unique and beautiful, every bag will look different as the teachers tie-dyed them individually. Finally, in line with safe-distancing measures, today’s celebration will be decentralised and so the teachers put together a video to invite children “to go on a bear hunt” in their small little groups.
The video is hilarious, and I am sure the children will enjoy mimicking the movements of their teachers on screen. Once again, my colleagues have entertained and created something interesting for our children but not all of us can do that.
Nonetheless, “being interesting” could also mean taking an active interest in those around us and letting them know that their presence is much welcomed. By simply passing a positive comment or being curious about what a child is thinking or doing and waiting to hear their answer would make their day. If the adults that children encounter daily consciously and constantly do this for them, they would experience every day as Children’s Day.
Wishing you good health and peace of mind,
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
– Kahlil Gibran on Children