Yet. It’s a word I use often at school with children. When they try hard and struggle, and say, “I can’t”, I add the word “yet”. A child might not be able to do it just now, but with practice they will. Yet.
Today the tables were turned. ‘Yet’ became the children’s words to me. Here is what happened:
It was a rainy day. There was extra time for music and the autoharp. Children picked their favorite songs, and we sang and danced. “Five Little Monkeys” was a top request, multiple times. Then, children wanted to sing “Red White and Blue.” With the autoharp.
“I don’t know how to play that song, but I have the book. Maybe the book has the music.”
The book had the music on the last page. Life was good. Well, it wasn’t good. I showed children how there were letters above the score of music, and how I could match that to the letters on the buttons of the autoharp. Easy, right? Not!
As I started to play and sing, I struggled to find the right button with the matching letter. I missed. I stopped. I tried many times, but it was hard. The children grabbed pretend phones, turned them into video cameras, and decided to videotape me playing. Maybe that would help. Besides, imaginary play is fun and creative. This was a great idea. Einstein said it best: “Creativity is intelligence having fun.”
Finally, I let out a big sigh and an “ugh”, and stopped in frustration. I had made so many mistakes. This is where the tables turned. I told the children that I didn’t know if I could do this.
They said, “Yet. You can’t do this yet, but keep practicing.”
Jayden said, “Jennie, take a deep breath.” I did. “Now, blow out your candle.” I did. He said, “Take another deep breath.” I did. Now, blow out dragon breath.” I did.
Whoa! This is what we teachers do with children. Mindfulness. It calms their body, energizes their brain, and focuses on the task at hand. And now the children were the teachers, telling me what to do.
Did it work? You bet it did! I played much better than I had done before. The children sang, loud and proud. They continued to videotape me with pretend phones, which was very cool.
It was important for me to be in the shoes of the child, and for children to be in the shoes of a teacher. Thank goodness for rainy days. You never know what might happen, yet.