Teaching While Sick

February 25, 2015

When Robert is not feeling good, I usually change the format of our sessions to just doing simple puzzles,  arithmetic operations, map reading as planned by Daily Geography, and a few easy speech exercises.  (For instance,  asking questions based on pictures from No Glamour Asking wh Questions). It is not the time to work on reading comprehension or learning new science concepts. The work is mostly mechanical, easy to complete and doesn’t take much time. Of course, when Robert is very sick, I just let him sleep or watch his IPAD.

When I am sick, it is almost the same.  I prepare worksheets that Robert can complete with minimal help or with no help at all.  It is mostly because when I am sick, it is much harder for me to find a way to present something new, understand nature of Robert’s possible errors, and find a way to address them. We don’t do any language related exercises as I don’t want to breathe my germs on Robert.

I have been sick with cold or flu or whatever else that might be since Saturday.

On Saturday, I found myself completely unable to teach Robert anything.  When I got up of bed to make myself ginger tea and get an aspirin, I found the kitchen floor covered with breadcrumbs. It has been our custom to sweep the floor together.  I used the broom and Robert followed with dustpan and dust brush. Coordinating legs and arms movements necessary to do sweeping was  difficult for him. At least I have always thought so. But this Saturday, I was desperate so I asked Robert to sweep the kitchen floor. At first, he was slightly surprised, but then he took a broom with one hand and began sweeping. “Use both hands”, I said as I sat down to drink my tea. Robert did. When he kept the broom in two hands he was also better adjusting his whole body. It seemed that the problems with gross motor coordination almost disappeared.  Yes, Robert was not a very good sweeper. He missed a few places.  However, the coordination was not the culprit.  Lack of practice was.  When Robert took out dustpan to finish his cleaning, I returned to my bed asking myself why in the last ten or so years I had been convinced that Robert was incapable of sweeping.  Why did I assume that the fact that Robert was not able to do something 10 years ago meant that he was incapable of ever learning how to do it.

All my experiences with teaching Robert kept proving that Robert can learn if he is taught properly. So why did I give up on teaching sweeping?

Why did I have to be sick  and  break our teaching routines to gain a better insight into Robert’s abilities and into mine blind spots.

 

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