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I’m Back!!!

January 27, 2014

For the past five weeks, I have been focusing on my youngest son who contracted Guillain Barre Syndrome. Sadly, Jacob spent almost a month in rehab regaining his strength and ability to control the muscles in his face, arms and legs. It was a scary experience, but one that showed my family our many blessings.

During my time at the rehab hospital, I couldn’t help but see connections between good teaching and what JQ’s therapists were doing each day to help him regain his strength. His therapists:

  • created and fostered a relationship built on trust so that JQ believed what they were doing was in his best interests. Trust is just as essential in your classroom and in mine.
  • challenged him to persevere despite his exhaustion and frustration about being stuck in rehab. How many times have you had to exhort a student to work a little harder?
  • used his passion for basketball and sports to inspire him. Often, when I asked JQ what he had accomplished during a session, he would reply, “Nothing. All we did was play basketball.” Making learning engaging is essential in helping students learn the material.
  • assigned meaningful homework that forced him to practice the skills he had learned that day just as we do to ingrain the skills and knowledge we have taught our students.
  • created buyin by getting Jacob to focus on the bigger picture. “The harder you work, the sooner you’ll get out of here.” This reminded me of all the times I have told me students, “Better learn this now because you’ll need it in high school or college.”
  • built his self confidence by praising him for his achievements and telling him, “You can do this!” How many times have we said something similar to one of our students?
  • gave him the skills he needed for success in life. They re-taught him how to shower, put on his clothes, and eat just like we teach our students how to read, write, and think.
  • kept Heidi and I in the loop about his progress and let us know and how we could support our child. These updates reminded me a lot of parent-teacher conferences.
  • coordinated their efforts in the same way that history and English teachers might tackle an interdisciplinary project.
  • created detailed reports to be given to his outpatient therapists in much the same way we write year-end progress reports to help next year’s teachers get off to a running start.
  • prepared him for success in the future just as we as teachers work diligently to give our students the knowledge and skills to thrive when they leave our class.

I am excited to get back to learning and blogging again now that I have a little more time on my hands. Also, I would also like to thank those of you who reached out to me over the past five weeks. Thanks for all the prayers and support; I appreciate it more than I can possibly express.

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