Yesterday on a long walk throught the back trails of our neighborhood, my husband and I walked up a steep embankment and came to a road.
We looked at each other for a moment, not knowing exactly where we were. It took a minute, looking around at the landmarks, until I realized that we were standing on the side of a relatively major road in our neighborhood.
As soon as I figured it out, we both sort of laughed and nodded, realizing that it couldn't be anything but that particular road, based on where we were and the relationship of everything around us.
The point I took from that experience is this: I came upon something so completely familiar -- a road I travel on every day -- and yet it took me a few moments to recognize it when I approached it from a different direction.
What an important lesson to remember in teaching. How often are my students approaching something from a different perspective, a unique one that is not my own, and seeing it in a way that I might not see? Similarly -- and I think good teachers do this well -- there is a profound importance to anticipate various ways children might be approaching new or familiar learning.
How often do I 1) recognize when this is happening (remembering that it might be happening at any time) and 2) give them the time and direction they might need to make a learning connection on their own, rather than make it for them? Hopefully the answer is a large one.
For example, if I know that Benicio can read the predictable words on our Morning Message and I know that some of those words will be in the new book I'll be giving him during Guided Reading, I should recognize that he might be at a similar precipice and give him the tools to figure out that the word in front of him is one he knows, rather than do it for him.
He certainly has the tools to do it himself. :)