Preparing my child to be a teacher’s nightmare

Monday, August 26th, 2013

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One of the best things about being a parent is that as far as your child knows, everything you say is correct. So it doesn’t matter that someone like me got advice from my guidance counsellor mother that I might want to think about dropping maths and sciences from my educational pursuits.

But after answering my daughters question about why the sun always goes away at night with a not at all scientific “because the sun needs to get some sleep too,” I started wondering if she’d ever ask the question again so that she’d eventually learn, in earnest, why the sun sets in the evening.

Of course, she’d have to ask somebody other than me because I’d very likely give her another wrong answer even if it wasn’t the same one I’d already given.

I figure she’d end up asking this, and many other, question and get the right answer because I’ve never heard a grown-up who hadn’t been drinking seriously answer that the sun goes down at night because it has to go to sleep.

Three seconds later I had pieced it all together—kids learn stuff in school from teachers, Then it dawned on me that as a parent, I was making the teacher’s job awfully had by giving such bullshit answers to my kids.

I wonder how many different answers a kindergarten teacher gets to every question she or he has in their lesson plans.

“Who can tell me what comes after the number three?”

“My dad told be bologna sandwich.”

“My dad told me Christmas tree.”

“My mom told me four…teen.”

“What is wrong with your parents?”

I think adults very often take for granted that there will always be people to teach their children the right answer to basic questions.

And while I have no proof that they care at all (for all I know it might be the only thing that gets them through the day with twenty or more four year olds in their care), maybe we adults with kids should try and prepare our children a little bit better to help them from becoming their teacher’s nightmare.

1. Hold specific story telling times. I still think there’s great value in making sure your kid know how to spin a yarn (or tell a lie if you want to say it like it is). But make sure they know story time is a time of make believe and that nothing discussed in story time should be used as fact.

Failing to do so is how I came to argue with my science teacher about the existence of dairy properties on the moon.

2. When you’re about to give an answer that would make sense in and Mad Lib but not in real life, don’t say it. Also, try not to think about it at all because then you’re going to think about how funny the Mad Lib is and laugh to yourself and your kid will think you’re a crazy person.

3. Every once in a while, mix it up and actually do some research on the question. Maybe as a 33 year old, you should know why water boils, or why zebras have stripes.

Truly, there are a myriad of ways to make sure your child doesn’t show up for the first day of school sounding like someone who’s been reading books backwards their entire life. Why not try a few of them this summer as you get your kid ready to go back to school.

But do be sure to mix in the odd yarn or two, we do need to keep our teachers honest.

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