However and wherever it is done, teaching is exhausting – enjoyable, rewarding, wonderful, amazing but still exhausting.
There are times when it is counterproductive to even think about teaching. I have thought of nine times when the only thing you are likely to get from trying to teach is a splitting headache.
Five minutes of quality and enjoyable learning for you and your child is ten times more beneficial than twenty minutes or half an hour of stressed out and fractious teaching and learning.
Children are natural learners and even if you are unavailable, for whatever reason, to teach, your child will still learn something especially if they are living in a bright and stimulating environment.
Feeling guilty about not being up to teach every now and then won’t do you any good. Don’t let teaching become a chore. It should be a great experience for all involved.
Here is my list of those times when it is better not to teach.
When you are tired or sick
Remember teaching and learning is tiring. If you aren’t on top form before you start, by the time you finish you will be feeling much worse, stressed out and have a child who is feeling the same. Not good.
When your child is tired or sick
Just because you are feeling on top of the world and ready for a great day of teaching it will be a futile exercise if you child is not on the top of the world with you. Yet again, both of you will end up being stressed out and there will probably be some tears to accompany the stress.
After an argument
Whether the argument has been with a partner, friend, neighbour or the gas company,
give yourself a break to calm down. (Unless, of course, you won the argument and are feeling bouncy!) Children are so perceptive. They know when things are not as they should be and it isn’t fair to inflict your stress or anger onto their learning.
When the child is engrossed in something else
This one is up to your own judgement really. If they are engrossed in playing a game, building something elaborate, reading, or something else which you feel is beneficial to their learning, why stop them. You’ll be trying to teach a child who wants to be doing something else and there’ll be tears again. Of course, on the other hand, if they have been sitting in front of the TV for five hours watching cartoons, it’s a good idea to distract them and get them started on something more useful to their learning.
When you don’t understand what you are teaching
If you aren’t confident about a particular topic or concept then there is the distinct possibility the your child will end being as confused as you are. It may be that you just need to read up about something and it will be fine. If you find it out of your comfort zone, ask for help. It is so much better than struggling to get something across to your child when you are unfamiliar with the concept. Ask a family member, friend or even drop me a line here and I am more than happy to help.
When your time is limited
Clock watching is the time when you’ll not explain properly or go to fast for child to understand. This is a big problem in the school classroom where time is limited and it is the time that children can fall behind because they haven’t had the time time to digest the information so it makes sense. If you only have a short amount of time before an engagement etc, don’t start something new. Read story instead – a short one!
When it is too hot or too cold
I don’t know about you but when I’m cold my mind goes into hibernation and my tolerance level falls dramatically. Maybe you are the same or possibly you don’t enjoy the heat (I love it!) In the cold weather I would choose to go out for a learning walk. With little children a walk in the rain is amazing fun and splashing in the puddles is delightful as well as being educational. If the weather is too hot then I would consider taking the day off and visiting the beach. This can be just as educational and a dip in the water cools everyone off.
When there are too many other things going on
Can you imagine sitting down and learning whilst family or friends are having a great time playing hide’n’seek in the garden. Concentration goes out of the door if there is something more exciting going on. In fact it doesn’t seem very fair does it?
When you or your child is hungry or thirsty
Believe me, when trying to teach or learn when you tummy is grumbling isn’t worth the trouble. It’s not a good idea to have a huge meal before a learning session as you’ll be likely to fall asleep on the job. Keeping hydrated throughout the day is extremely important and especially so in hot weather. Keeping the fluid levels up keeps the brain in alert mode. Always keep a glass of water nearby for both of you to drink little and often.
I’m sure this list isn’t exhaustive and it would be lovely if you’d like to add your own ideas or thoughts.
My best time of day is in the morning until the early afternoon. Everything slows down for me after about 2pm. I know that my best teaching is down in the morning.
When is your most productive part of the day?
How does this fit in with helping your child to learn?