Welcome to the January 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Authenticity
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about authenticity through character, emotions, and establishing authentic communication with their children. We hope you enjoy this month’s posts and consider joining us next month when we share about Honesty.
The word authentic means “something that has the authority of its original creator. . . The adjective’s original meaning in English was ‘authoritative’; the modern sense ‘genuine’ did not develop fully until the late 18th century.”
–from the Dictionary of Word Origins by John Ayto.
Today, looking through the paper, I came across a help-wanted ad for a teaching position. Hmm, this could be just what I needed, I thought to myself. I could use that extra bit of money and it would only be a few months, 6 at most, until the school year ends. I wonder what happened to the other teacher that he/she didn’t finish out the year.
Then I noticed the name of the school. It happened to be the same school I had worked at 3 years ago and quit before the end of the school year.
Now, I’m not the type of person that just gives up on something, especially teaching. I love to teach. That year I was teaching first grade and it couldn’t have been more delightful. Students are so open and excited to learn at that age. So what happened that I felt there was no other option but to pack up and leave?
The coordinator accused me of incompetence. She said that I did not turn in my lesson plans or complete the activities required in the classroom. It wasn’t true. As it wasn’t the first lie she told about me to the school owners, I knew it wouldn’t be the last and I felt the time had come. I had all my materials moved out 30 minutes after school finished that day. I don’t know this woman’s reasoning, perhaps she was jealous, perhaps she felt insecure about her own English, perhaps she just didn’t like me. Whatever her rationale, from that day on, I refused to continue to give authority to someone who would speak lies about me. So I walked out.
Since then I have discovered or rediscovered passion for my work. I teach ESL students that range in age from 4-75 with a twist. I’m no longer the typical teacher with a certain agenda to plow through. I no longer have to answer to anyone for the number of pages we cover in a day. We play language games, listen to Shel Silverstein’s
Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings silly ly poems, sing songs, and always have time for a conversation that is only slightly unrelated to the class topic.
As I am teaching English in Central México, not in the United States, I teach my students not just a language but a culture and a way to communicate with persons of that language and culture. It means sometimes explaining the dirty jokes, or correcting pronunciation or grammar, or talking about the history and transformation of the language over time. It’s more than memorizing where to put the verb in the sentence. There are things that just can not be translated and there are things that for which no words are necessary, so we look for alternate ways of communicating together. It doesn’t get much more authentic than that.
And my students learn, as only they can in an authentic language learning setting. They come to class full of excitement, express disappointment that the class hour has finished and look forward to the next lesson. They have learned how to be authentic students as well, something sorely lacking in a traditional classroom. I grant them the authority over their learning and they teach me what it is they need to learn. It’s a win-win situation. This is how it should have been all along.
Instead of taking that traditional job, (although I could use the extra bit of money) I will continue spending my days with my not-so-little anymore son, whose wacky teacher I have always been.
See Also: Learning and Teaching Year 1, Learning and Teaching Year 2, Learning and Teaching Year 3, Learning and Teaching Year 4, Learning and Teaching Year 5, and Authentic Teaching and Learning and me
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be live and updated by afternoon January 25 with all the carnival links.)
- Remaining True To Yourself While Parenting – Authentic Parenting compares Western Child centered parenting with African parenting and discovers some ways to maintain your authenticity.
- Honoring My Forgiving Heart — Destany at They Are All of Me writes about how honoring her forgiving nature allows her to break down emotional barriers and allow her to more fully connect with her children.
- Sincere and Credible — Mari from Honey on the Bum uses the definition of authenticity to relate what it means to her and her parenting style
- Being Authentic — Mrs Green at Little Green Blog ponders how to achieve authenticity when there are cultural, community and family expectations to take into account…
- Authenticity — Sustainable Mum shares how her values have been shaped through life and are now the basis of how she parents her own children.
- Authenticity through Consensual Living — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children challenges parents to push past socially learned reactions in order to foster authentic interactions with their children.
- Authenticity Through Emotions — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares her belief that being a truly authentic parent means allowing and supporting both her daughter’s emotions and her expression of them but also her (Jennifer’s) own emotions.
- Authentic Grief — Erica at ChildOrganics talks about not shielding our children from the topic of death and dying. She shares how being open and honest on the topic can help our children grow to be healthy well-adjusted adults.
- Authentic Teaching, Authentic Learners — At Surviving Mexico, Survivor shares how learning how to be an authentic teacher was something she discovered rather than learned.