Monday, May 12, 2014

Life's hidden curriculum

Fayetteville, Arkansas. That's where I live now. That's where I will soon begin working. Teaching. Doing what I love to do.

At the zoo: playing, laughing, learning.
I haven't posted regularly over these past few weeks. Road trips to look for an apartment in Fayetteville, preparing to move from Texas, actually moving to Fayetteville, setting up a new home: it's been more than time consuming. I've honestly (ashamedly?) thought little about education over the past few weeks.

But perhaps that's not entirely true.

I do in fact think about education all the time. My sons', specifically. Not about where they will or won't go to school; not about whether we will or won't homeschool (though homeschooling is my present hope, if for no other reason than to ensure my sons learn Chinese from their mother). No, it's not their future, specifically, I'm thinking about, but rather their present. I think about what they're learning right now from me and from my wife.

What do I say to my children? How do I say it? What attitudes am I projecting, and what attitudes are they perceiving? What messages do my reactions send? What are they learning in my interactions with them? What are they learning as they observe me interacting with others? What are they acquiring, as if by osmosis, about good and evil, right and wrong, invaluable and valuable and worthless?

And what about our students? These same questions apply. We must not forget that while we desire students to learn the material of a given subject, be it mathematics, English, Chinese, or sciences, students inevitably learn about life through their teachers. What messages do our reactions send? What do our interactions demonstrate about our concern for them (or lack thereof), about their value, about what is good?

What messages do we want them to understand? Does our practice transmit those messages?

Follow me on Twitter @MatthewTShowman.

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