Aside from parents, teachers are our children’s most influential role models. Many children admit that they would like to teach when they grow up. The world can always use dedicated teachers, so this is a wonderful and honorable job to encourage in a child who expresses that desire. What can you do to encourage your youngster when he or she shows an interest in teaching? Here are a few things you can do to encourage your budding teacher.
A good place to start in encouraging your budding teacher is to make a point of asking them lots of questions. Every good teacher is a deep thinker, and asking your child many questions about various topics will encourage them to think things through.
No matter what age your child is, ask them questions that get the wheels in their mind turning. If you have a young child, ask them why the sky looks blue. If you have an older child who is an aspiring teacher, involve them in discussions about events on the news as well as the media coverage surrounding the event.
Give Them a Positive Experience as a Student
It is likely that if your child has a desire to be a teacher, they have had positive interactions with one or more of their teachers. Even so, continue to find them the opportunity to be a student to a great teacher. It is amazing what our children can learn from observing good teaching in action. This also strengthens their desire to teach, because they will want to pass along the great experience to others.
Give Them Opportunities to Teach
When a child wants to teach, there are plenty of chances for them to learn through experience. If your child has a younger sibling, set up a scenario where he (or she) can put together a lesson for them and help them learn something specific. Maybe your budding teacher will help a toddler learn the alphabet, or colors, or types of animals. Perhaps your young teacher will teach their younger pupil something specifically related to his or her area of interest.
If your young child is an only child at this point, encourage him or her to teach during “play time.” Who says you have to teach people? Dolls, stuffed animals (and even willing pets) work well as classroom students. When I was teaching pre-K I found that some of the boys preferred to “teach” action figures and we set up a training camp. Sometimes the boys taught colors and other things they were learning in the class. Other times the boys wanted to teach physical skills. Remember, all teachers aren’t in traditional classrooms so encourage a variety of teaching scenarios and situations.
Let opportunities like this happen both naturally and formally. A child who wants to be a teacher will soak up these opportunities with enthusiasm. It will be enjoyable for you as a parent to watch these sessions, as bonding and learning happen at the same time.
On the Job Experience
If the workplace permits it, see if your budding teacher can tag along with someone in that profession for a day. If you are a teacher, bring your child on career day and allow them to see you teach. Watching you or another teacher up close is an exciting opportunity for your child to learn about what goes on in a teacher’s day.
Whatever age your budding teacher may be, there are many ways to encourage and cultivate this desire. Encouraging a child with a desire to teach is a great way to promote understanding of the field, as well as learning in general. Support your young teacher and help them reach their potential and become the best future teacher they can be.