Monday, November 11, 2013

"and, Oh Auntie Em, there's no place like home!" - Dorothy Gale of Kansas

I went to two of my "growing up" homes last week in Illinois....the first in Jacksonville where my grandparents lived and where later I went to college, and the second in Western Springs, where my family lived for 6 years.  Throughout the week and through many wonderful conversations with my sister and friends, I rediscovered (for the trillionth time) the values and traditions that shaped me.  Some of these were embraced and some quite determinedly rejected - but all in some way a part of who I became.

My grade school friends and I visited our 6th grade teacher, Mr. Shinn, who still lives in Western Springs.  Even now, 54 years later, he remembered a little something about each one of us - not about our academic ability or behavior - but who our families were, our friends, who we really were. 

Anyway, I thought about my own teaching career and how my connections with home and parents effected my work with kids.  If I didn't know the family very well - I really never knew the student very well,  and the school year for both of us was somehow less successful.   The "Mr. Shinn" connection isn't easily formed with families in shelters or dysfunctional homes, yet knowing where and how a child gets his world view can tell us how he or she learns.  I'm grateful for the teachers who took the time to know a little about my family, and me. 

So - I'm home again after visiting the other "homes" I once knew. 

Be well today and always,

11 comments:

  1. What a great post!! I always get excited when I am able to visit the place where I grew up and the teachers who made such an impact on my life!! you're absolutely right...Making an effort to make those connections with our students and their family members can make such a huge difference in how we approach teaching and connecting with them.

    Thank you for sharing and I hope you're doing great!!!

    Michelle
    The 3AM Teacher


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    1. Thanks, Michelle - and thanks for the beautiful blog!

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  2. Jean, I couldn't agree MORE with your comments and sentiments in this post! Thank you for the important reminder.
    ps: Love the quotes you use before each post!
    Susanna
    Whimsy Workshop Teaching

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    1. Thanks, Susanna. Home is Home - no matter what.

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  3. Jean, I had the same discussion with friends not that long ago. The kids you went to school with you know so well and they were defined by their families. It is not that way anymore in many cases. What a shame. Thanks for reigniting my interest in getting to know every student AND their families.

    :) Shelley

    The Perks of Teaching Primary

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Your words already give you away as a caring and involved teacher. Thanks for the comments. best, jean

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  4. And sometimes I find it works the other way too - if you get to know the students you get to know the families. :) Especially when you're working with children with special needs. That bond between teacher and family is SO important. I'm glad I found your blog. Looking forward to reading more :)

    horizons

    Lynn

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    1. I was a teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing. The families - each and every one - taught me as much as I did them. Thank for your comments.

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  5. This is just what i needed to hear this morning. I am just coming back from spending two weeks with my mom, helping her recover from surgery. I was amazed at the memories the siimple sound of my feet on the stairs brought back. While I was there I was only thinking of the memories...now I am pondering how those things shaped my life. I am so blessed. Thank-you for helping me take my experience to another level. LOVE your blog and your quotes!

    Terri
    KinderKapers

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    1. Thanks so much. I think the smells stay with us, too. My growing up home is long gone to other families, but I can easily draw back those smells.

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