LeAnne Litka, Author Illustrator
The View From the Back of the Classroom
Updated: Dec 20, 2021
I became a para educator when the youngest of my four children went to kindergarten. The view from the back of the classroom is where I had the idea for my book "What's That Sound?" More on that later.
For almost two decades I have had the privilege of being an extra set of eyes, ears, and hands in classrooms ranging from kindergarten to high school. Because of my husband's job moves, I've had classroom experience in the suburbs, urban core, and private schools. I also spent some time homeschooling when one of our children struggled with a learning disability.
Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some simple ideas to help you get ready to send your child back to the classroom. I will highlight important skills to practice at home, ideas for roadblocks, resources for help, and some crafty ideas for fun. Feel free to contact me with questions!
#1 Set your child up for SUCCESS
Here is a hard truth: It is NOT about you! The reality is that your child is looking out of his or her own eyes and making sense of their world. At some level we know it, but it is all too easy to view a child's accomplishments or defeats as a reflection of our parenting. When we react to situations with this motive in our hearts, children lose the opportunity to grow authentically into the person they were designed to be. We don't really mean to do it. It is subtle. It happens all the time. Maybe you disagree.
When I first became a mother I planned to right all wrongs. I hoped to nurture sparkling souls who would grow up to change the world. I am ashamed to say sometimes it WAS all about me. It took really hard lessons, and even some counseling to learn my children's successes and failures belong to THEM.
We can nurture, guide, direct, prod, and hope. We can have great vision for them, but of first importance is the fact that THIS is their own unique life experience. There will be progress and setbacks. Trust me, I've raised four teens. There will be days of drama, days of rebellion, and days of complete discouragement.
To be brutally honest, in 2006 I was so overwhelmed I paused every single night while cooking dinner. I had to turn off the stove, go into a quiet space, get down on my knees, and beg God for strength to make it through the evening hours of the day! All four had a season of defeat and difficulty! They had problems to solve and consequences to face. Despite my efforts to guide, protect, and direct them, stuff happened. Lots of stuff. All at the same time! I got a bit wiser...we all did. Success is the learning, the growing, and the overcoming. It is not the social media moment of accomplishment celebrating a tiny segment of life's journey.
So, here are some mindset challenges for the 2020-2021 school year:
*Accept successes and defeats as part of your child's personal journey.
*Use caution when posting about your child's success on social media. It's a hard act to follow during an extended season of defeat. Those days WILL come.
*Seek to understand. Lay aside pride and listen in order to connect. You don't have to solve all their problems.
*Stand firm without comparing your family's journey to another's. We are all at different places. It isn't a race.
Best wishes to you as we start an unusual school year! The school I work at has already started. The kids quickly adjusted to classroom procedures for masks, extra washing, and social distancing. (Here is one more reason to appreciate your child's teacher...especially this year...they always find a creative way to get the job done!)