City Observer Newsletter 16 August 2018

Why do Teachers teach? I had a special taste of the answer to this perhaps puzzling question today when I experienced the joy of watching Years 1 and 2 Reading Groups wrestling with words and slicing up syllables of sounds. The pleasure registering on a young enthusiast’s face as they masterfully mustered the sounds around their mouths of Dadosaurauses, Momasauruses and kidosauruses doing the dinosaur dishes in their cavernous kitchen echoed eons ago for me. My own Year 1 Teacher, Miss Wrigley, on Friday afternoons would read to us The Wind in the Willows which took me to another time and place, but we never finished that long story, mostly I think because some boys became restless, with a gender stereotype firmly grasped in their fidgets. Years 1 and 2 children will carry these reading lessons with them throughout their lives, and these are very memorable moments. The twenty first century’s skills of problem solving, creativity and communications, were all proudly on display as the children explained their connections to their real world, connections with other stories they had experienced, and communicated their emotional intelligence and empathy with the characters’ situations. They may not have immediately realised the importance and complexity of what they were doing, but who knows where these skills will take them, in their far, far away futures. Perhaps it was the lilting river ferrying Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad, and the Weasels, that navigated my path to teaching English, and contemplating the history of human thought as the waters roll by.

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