Conversations With Mentoring Students
Conversations With Mentoring Students avatar

My class is filled with inspired and passionate students who come ready each week to share their experiences working in the ECE field with others.  It is at times, an exhilarating experience to be in a room surrounded with adult students who enjoy the exchange of information and experiences that are shared by their classmates.

Aside from recognizing that they all come from different backgrounds; both  culturally and socio-economically, there is a common thread amongst them of a desire to learn and a desire to give.  This by itself has been immensely rewarding to me as a first time professor.  I am wondering if it has happened because of this particular mix of individuals or because I set the tone for them in the manner in which I embrace teaching.  Whatever combination of the two ideas, I appreciate it and them.

As I read the other entries in this blog, I see that many of you share specifics about the practice of teaching that you find relevant.  For me, the emotional and social construct of working with others is the most important aspect.  As we determined with children, they will all learn to read and write in their own time.  But, will they all learn to be kind, giving respectful contributors who are open to the ideas of others, willing to play and share nicely?  The answer is not necessarily, unless they are provided with role models for whom doing just that, are received as valuable skills to master.

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Ciao from the New Kid on the Block
Ciao from the New Kid on the Block avatar

My journey in education started while I was raising our four very young children in the Sierra Foothills near Lake Tahoe.  The year specifically was 1991, and our children were between the ages of 2 and 10 years of age.  As you can imagine, I was very busy and had children in all stages of development; from diapers, binkies, blankies, potty training, growing teeth, losing teeth, riding bikes with and without training wheels, and everything in between.

It was the best time of my life and while my husband and I had little money, the dream of planting a vineyard (which we did but that’s a whole other story) and truly valued that period of our lives, we made every day count and I have great memories of that time. But as much as I loved my life and all the little daily details, I longed to go to college and experience the intellectual stimulation I felt it would provide me, and to fulfill a promise I made to myself in honor of my parents who valued education immensely.  My father had an 8th grade education and was a first generation American (his parents migrated from Ireland in the late 1880’s), and my mother arrived as a twelve year old from Mexico. Continue reading