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Monday, August 29, 2011

Memories of Homework Past

Each evening brings new, yet frighteningly familiar, homework challenges.  Tonight I watched as my fourth grader struggled to understand the nuances of her assignments, and find myself extremely grateful to my former teachers.  During my early years as a student at St. Pius X Catholic School, I developed a love for reading and writing that continues to provide a security blanket during times of stress. One of the reasons I started this blog was to manage my anxiety about changing career plans at this point in my life.  So far, I feel calmer and more patient with my children.  It's a work in progress.  Stay posted for further updates. 

Tonight I remembered how I used to practice handwriting and learned cursive in school.  We actually earned grades for our penmanship.  I remember working so hard to get that coveted "Penmanship Award"  that was presented in the form of a certificate signed by the teacher.  We also had weekly creative writing assignments with selected papers posted on the outside classroom bulletin board.  Because everyone's paper was not always displayed, we worked harder to acheive those unique places on the board.  Throughout the year, everyone had the opportunity to have their writing displayed. 

I remembered how difficult it was for me to grasp some of the algebraic concepts in seventh grade.  Sister Marita Anne made each student take a turn going to the chalk board to work through problems.  Although I was painfully shy at times, my turns at the math board helped me gain confidence within my peer group and better understand how to work through the math problems.  Her teaching techniques were to the point but always laced with a dose of humor.  Her quotes were legendary.  She demonstrated how important is was to balance serious learning with fun.  And everyone always respected her!

So as I sat with my daughter to explain, answer questions, correct spelling, and review assignments, I recalled that each of us continues to be both student and teacher.  We all learn from each other and we can all teach each other.  Although the approach and techniques are important,  being able to receive the information is also critical.  When all components converge to create a common goal,  success is sure to follow. For my part, I will be open to becoming a more receptive student. 

Have a wonderful week and enjoy every opportunity to learn something new.  Sharing it will be a bonus!