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Dear Parents and Guardians,


I have an unusual request…Let your students fail! That’s right! We learn through trial and error. We learn from our mistakes even as adults. Teachers have been noticing that many parents are hovering nearby during online instruction and can hear them whispering corrections to their children. There are several outcomes from these acts of kindness on the part of parents. Neither is positive. The first is that children are robbed of the opportunity to make a mistake and learn from it. The second is that teachers have a difficult time supporting children and re-teaching because they aren’t certain if the child is repeating a response their parent gave them or they truly understand the concepts taught. Teaching children to learn from their mistakes empowers them.


Additionally, teachers have noticed that when parents are hovering nearby students aren’t participating fully. They aren’t speaking up as they do when parents aren’t present. It’s important that parents are in the room during the times when your child is working one to one with a teacher or assistant teacher. It might help if parents hovered from a distance and were busy with a task such as reading, knitting, cooking, or a jigsaw puzzle, (something quiet) while keeping close enough to hear the gist of the instruction. This will encourage children to follow through by participating and asking questions rather than over-relying on parental support. We want children to be in charge of their learning.


A life skill you can begin teaching children is what’s called executive functioning. Have children plan out reasonable chunks of work to do each day rather than having assignments pile up to the point where children feel so overwhelmed that they are resistant to even begin working on their own. Sort out assignments that are less challenging such as math and sight word practice and encourage them to address these on their own. A few successes goes a long way toward building confidence. Eventually, children develop the confidence needed to tackle challenging problems especially if they allow themselves to make mistakes and learn from them.


Please know that teachers have children of their own at home who they are teaching remotely. They are acutely aware that teaching your own child is more challenging than teaching children outside your household. We are truly grateful for all you are doing to help your child succeed!


Thank you!


Maureen Fitzgerald-Riker


Tinmouth Mountain School



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