The last few discussions have brought two important points up among our little community and it's time to talk about them. Granted, they were not brought up by regular weekly participants.
I believe this can be summed up in two parts:
1. The Constant Critic
2. Personal Sensitivities
As teachers, we all deal with both of these issues on a daily, ongoing basis. And believe me, it gets exhausting. Working with children on a daily basis on top of adult requirements for what they deem as proper practice certainly wears one down in both temperment and tolerance.
Our first case is the Case of the Constant Critic. This is someone I have faced may times. (Not this exact person, mind you, rather the type.) This person is generally appointed an expert through academia, attitude or job description. They are interested in influencing teachers through training. They have very clear ideas as to what should and should not be going in the classroom. They eagerly await a slip of a sentence to provide that crucial "teachable moment" to colleagues currently practicing the craft of teaching. They never seem to understand why teachers or colleagues are "resistant".
They will read that paragraph and incorrectly interpret that I do not value reflection of my professional practice.
I am reminded of the time I was evaluated by someone on my performance of a scripted curriculum. Her evaluation mentioned that my "mini-lesson" ran 12 minutes when it should only be 10 minutes.
I'm only going to say this:
If you are constantly looking for faults, you will surely find them.
Indeed, The United States is setting itself up for just that in our current climate of teaching. Personally, I cannot express how much the Canadian teachers and experts in kinderchat have influenced my thinking, practice and respect for their approach of education and the profession of teaching. I look to them as leaders in the field of teaching young children and want to specifically mention the wonderful sharing of teaching practice coming from Canada.
Kinderchat is not here to evaluate your growth or learning in teaching. We firmly believe that by sharing we will help each other grow and learn. We are a relaxed and happy group, full of jokes, stories and reflections. We grant each other professional expertise.
Interesting to note, that this particular critiquer was either unable or unwilling to share his own resources and contributed nothing to the roundtable other than his opinions of the quality of our sharing resources and practice on the topic. Yes, critiques go two ways.
Who you are and how you conduct yourself within our community matters.
Secondly, the personal sensitivities and bias issue. I opened the chat last night with a request to keep Japan in your prayers or pray for Japan, something to that effect. btw I am not religious, but I felt that the extreme situation of a country facing nuclear meltdown warranted a call for prayers. I was quickly accused of being insensitive to atheists.
I will only say this:
If you spend your time waiting to be offended and excluded, you surely will be.
It is our goal to be a place of refuge and support for Kindergarten and Professionals working in the field of Early Childhood Education. If you spend your time tearing down systems of support, you are not helping our community and are interrupting productive conversations. This doesn't mean that we don't appreciate "tough questions" or a good old fashioned debate, but rather we are actively involved in our practice every day, we are human and we are all working very hard both offline and on to create wonderful learning environments for children all over the world.
Please think deeply about all of this before you participate as it is core to the beliefs of kinderchat.