Two are Greater than One

Have you ever changed a newborn’s diaper in the middle of the night?

For the baby, I would compare their experience to an alien abduction.  Think about it.  You’re fast asleep then, all of a sudden, you’re being lifted in the air.  You feel like you’re flying.  Then, you’re laying down again, but you can feel it’s not your bed.  A blinding light turns on, shining in your face.  You wake up startled and surprised, wondering where you are.  You hear sounds, maybe voices, but their mumbled and unclear.  Then you feel your clothes coming off and their’s a lot of attention on the lower half of your body.

I actually thought about this as I was changing my child.

I figured that is why my son screamed bloody murder every time I changed his diaper at 2am.  He screamed long, hard, and loud.

Not fun at all.

Thank goodness for my wife.  I attributed the screaming to diaper changing, so I made some changes to what I did.  My wife heard about it and made big changes too.  This is what she figured:

  • Keep the lights dim or low, so the baby is not shocked by the light.
  • Shush and coo while changing.
  • When done changing, wait for the baby to calm down before picking up.
  • Have all the lights down and tv off.

I combined her techniques with my techniques: walking, swaying and swaddling.  Since then, the screaming and crying has become less and less.  Now everyone can sleep a little longer. We’re up to 3 and a half hours between feedings!  Woohoo!

Moral of the Story: Two are greater than one.

When I became a preschool teacher, I was immediately put in charge of a classroom with two teacher assistants – both of whom were better and had more experience than me.

Awkward.

I didn’t feel right being the lead.  My supervisor agreed, which is why one of my assistants was the head teacher of the school.

Umm, more awkward?

The head teacher would lead, role-model, then slowly pass along responsibilities to me.  The tactic worked.  After four months, I felt confident in leading the classroom.

However, throughout my four years, I’ve never felt confident that I was the main teacher in the classroom. Sure, I was the decision maker and ultimately responsible for the student’s education, but I wasn’t the only teacher in the classroom.  I only got to work with my head teacher one year, but I’ve been fortunate to work with two great assistants.

I won’t mention their names, but they know who they are.  Let’s see if they read this 🙂

As I continued to teach, I acquired more knowledge from books and websites, but I became a better teacher because of my assistants. I asked them questions and bounced ideas off of them:

What if I were to make a tree in the classroom?

What if I painted the classroom clock in orange tempera paint?

What if I made clouds that went around the classroom?

What if I made a photo wall?

Sometimes, I would get a yes.  Sometimes, I would get pursed lips, then change in topic.  I got the hint.  My idea was too crazy.

However, most of my learning came from just watching what they did: how they handled children, how they spoke, how they taught.  They were teaching the kids and me.  It was like the head teacher never left.  My assistants brought experience, insight, ideas that I didn’t have. I fused my ideas with theirs or vice versa.  They didn’t assist me.  We worked together. We were a team.

So, whenever I introduced my assistant teacher to a visitor, I would say “This is my co-teacher”.

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