The other morning as I sat down with a bowl of Cinnabon cereal (yeah it’s a real thing), I flipped open my laptop to check the news. This can mean any variety of things: education journals, the NYT, facebook, twitter (now), or… the huffington post!
I happened to randomly find this “wholehearted parenting manifesto” in the highlights section as I was browsing. I know what you’re thinking…. why was Megan looking in the parenting section of an online journal? Well it’s not what you think, I swear. It was an incident of fate, actually.
We’ve been talking a lot in my Educ450 class about how a teacher serves “in loco parentis,” meaning that he/she is literally considered the parent of every child in his/her class on any given day while they are at school. That’s a whole lot of responsibility, huh? I think it’s a bit of a far reaching term, but at the same time I also hope that there is truth to the legal term. In a lot of ways I actually want to build a parent/child relationship with my students. Obviously not in every sense of that bond, but some characteristics of the stereotypical familial relationship transfer well to the classroom.
As an example, here is the logo for the nationally known organization “Parents as Teachers” :
I started thinking about the benefits of turning the logo around as well… “Teachers as Parents.”
Bear with me on this metaphor. I’m not talking about babysitting. I’m not talking about a cheesy Lifetime movie parent/child relationship.
I’m talking about the power a teacher might have if he/she assumed the tenets of this manifesto. I personally want to adapt some of these ideas into my own “Wholehearted Teaching Manifesto.” Change the word “family” to “classroom,” and I think we’ve got something here:
“The Wholehearted Parenting Manifesto
Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. You will learn this from my words and actions–the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.
I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging, and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.
We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.
We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries; we will honor hard work, hope, and perseverance. Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.
You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel.
I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude.
I want you to feel joy, so together we will learn how to be vulnerable.
When uncertainty and scarcity visit, you will be able to draw from the spirit that is a part of our everyday life.
Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.
We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other. No matter what, you will always belong here.
As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.
I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply, seeing you.”
Whether or not you choose to adapt the “Teachers as Parents” type mentality is up to you. Maybe this was just a super cheese-ball post that you took nothing away from. I hope at least you’re thinking about what WILL you put on your “wholehearted teaching manifesto.” I think that’s an important step for any preservice teacher.