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Learning at Home: Children are a sponge


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Steve and Sherry Heavin


By Sherry Heavin

As I begin to write this, my last column, on educating children at home I want to take these few lines and dedicate them to the people who count for children. TEACHERS! Teachers are at a loss now. The career they love and the recipients of their tutelage are not available to be taught because of this pandemic. This makes some teachers worry, including this one. They try to supplement with online learning or packets to keep the children actively engaged until they meet again – but they know and I know – that it will NEVER be the same as the classroom. It just won’t be enough. We can try to replicate teaching with online experiences, but it just isn’t the same.
When a child walks into the classroom in the morning a teacher can tell how the day will be for that child. Teachers do not only hand out information, but they gather it as well. If a child looks tired, the teacher worries they didn’t sleep well. If a child is overly cranky, you wonder if they are ill because that is out of character for them. If a child comes in bubbling over, you can’t wait to hear what good thing has happened in their life. Also, when things are bad – as they sometimes are – (for children in abusive situations) you can’t change it for them, and you are mandated to report it. All you can do as a teacher is offer a high five, a pat on the back, be there to listen, or give a hug when needed. Teachers can’t do that online. That is why they are troubled now. 
Children are the key to our future. They will do what we’ve taught them to do. If they are abused, chances are they will be abusive. If you have taught them to work hard, chances are they will be a hard worker. If they’ve seen you be disrespectful to their mother (father), chances are they will do the same. If you scream and yell when frustrated, they will do the same. Be wise where children are concerned.
Imagine a sponge. When you fill it with water and squeeze it – water comes out. Kids are the same.  Whatever you fill them with that is what comes out. Rarely does a child misbehave, be unkind, or hurt someone else if they aren’t experiencing those things, themselves. Be so very cautious with our most valuable commodity – children – they deserve our very best. Think about it, kids need teachers and schools for many reasons – some of them have nothing to do with learning at all.

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