Hi everyone! I do exist! I honestly sat at my open computer for five whole minutes before I started typing this post – staring at my screen wondering if this piece was even worth documenting. Here we go.
Things are going well over here in maternity leave land. Our baby girl is now 6.5 months old, we’ve been to Europe and back with her, and there is never a dull moment in any day.
I haven’t been posting here on Tale of Two Teachers very much because being “out of the field” (ie. realm of education) leaves me little to say or share on that topic. I’ve only recently starting thinking about teaching again…why does maternity leave fly by so, so quickly? I’m getting excited to be back in the classroom part-time, but I still have a handful of months before I become a working mama. Interestingly, the opportunity to apply for jobs is just around the corner and I think it’s weird to be applying for contracts that I won’t even work in right away (my maternity leave ends in November). Moving on.
The thing about having a baby is that they change literally every. single. day. This fascinates me to no end. There is almost no space or time to celebrate a newly learned skill or discovery because the next day will find you marveling at something else. Two days ago Charlee didn’t know she could roll off the rug to the bamboo floor, of course she had the rolling skills available to her, but she didn’t know how to access them, or what kind of fun was available beyond the rug. Yesterday morning Charlee made her big escape to the hardwood floor…and today she figured out how to use her hands to push herself (like a seal, if you need a visual) to spin around on her tummy.
During all this exploration I just lounge on the floor with my coffee because it’s 8am and I’m still waking up (maternity leave, you guys). I usually don’t “help” Charlee out when she’s in full on discovery mode like she was this morning. Of course if she’s going to bump her head or eat the cat’s toy I stop her, but for the most part it is all her…without me. I love it. The teacher in me just sits back and watches the tiny human figure out the world through trial and error, inquiry and sensory based learning. It’s during these morning play times where I reflect the most on my teaching practice. This morning’s particular thoughts involved the concept of enabling constraints. Today Charlee didn’t have any toys on the floor with her – it was just her and the brightly coloured quilt. In case you need a quick refresher on what exactly enabling constraints means, it has to do with limiting (or constraining) choice in order to open up the learning possibilities. Not a lot of choice when it came to play things this morning, but opportunity for deep learning and exploration anyhow (because we can roll around on the floor! Yeah!)
The best part of all the learning Charlee has been doing is how she celebrates her successes. I can praise my girl to the moon and back because she swallowed a mouthful of mashed peas, and while that is a big deal (you mamas know!), it’s the coolest when Charlee knows and feels the value of her newly learned skill and celebrates on her own with giggles, smiles, and an attempt to try again…and again…and again. Some of you might think babies don’t know what they’re doing most of the time; therefore, making celebrations of their own learning impossible. I (politely) disagree. That’s all I’m going to say about that for now.
Ohhh the things this teacher-mama is learning about learning while on maternity leave! My future students have no idea what’s coming their way when I jump back into teacher land!