Reflective Renewal

finding meaning and inspiration in children's literature

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Playing school

October 13th, 2009 by christine · No Comments · Uncategorized

Growing up, did you ever play school?

In some way, I feel like I have been a teacher my whole life. Although I have been an elementary and middle school teacher, as well as a college professor for several years, my teaching days began as a child. I would systematically line up my stuffed animals and carefully hold my prized children’s books for all of those plastic eyes to see, and read each word, with emotion.

Over the last few years, in my days as a college professor, I’ve found that the best times of our classes have been those moments I merely read a picture book aloud. All of the college students melt into their seats as the worlds come alive for them, and they can finally relax after a stressful day. Afterward, we frequently discuss the themes of the books, and how they can be applied to life and learning. I would hazard a guess that it was probably one the best parts of everybody’s day, to just lose ourselves in that book and the discussion of it.

Of course, my college students regularly have questions about the specifics of teaching, but more often than not, what I find to be the most challenging aspect of their days is simply their stress levels, and the demands that are placed on teachers everyday, by administrators, parents, students, and just personal concerns.

It is at these moments I genuinely wonder, why can’t we just sit back, relax, and look at children’s books for our clues? The literature sheds such light on our lives, which then impacts our teaching and everything else we do.

My dear friend Lauree and I have been close since the childhood days of playing school. For nearly thirty years, we have tackled each milestone together, trying never to be afraid of what life deals us. Lauree and I have had long talks about the straightforward beauty in children’s literature, and the complex lessons the simple books teach us. Their lessons are far more complex than anything we learned in complicated college classes.

Over time, Lauree and I have developed a vision for the type of work we would like to do with other woman, as we’re all tackling life’s twists and turns. Let’s have a website, a blog, occasional events, and most importantly, on-going, honest dialogue about what matters in our lives. We’ll frame it all with children’s literature, one simple yet gorgeous book at a time. I will share my favorite teaching stories, lessons and anecdotes from over the years, Lauree will share reflections on how to manage the demands in our lives, and we’ll frame the whole endeavor with various children’s books, both classics and the latest hot titles.

Join Lauree and me in this journey, and let’s play school together!

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