“Winter’s Chill” A Teacher’s Teachable Moments…

Hello Spring!

It’s the first day of the season, and a happy Spring season’s greetings to you!


Despite the extreme chill (and snow) of “Day 1” I must say, I learned so much this winter. Even in my semi-reclusive state given all the days where “it’s-too-cold-and-snowy-to-step-foot-out-that-door” and after-school cancellations; winter was genuinely fulfilling.

It started with homeschooling an extremely bright and highly active Kinesthetic learner from LA in late December. In Math, she was often completely reluctant to engage, with an interest level making even the simplest problems excruciatingly painful (for both of us).

In under 10 weeks at 6 -10 hours of focused work time per week she memorized over 40 math facts, manipulated two digit addition and subtraction, AND was excited and more interested in doing math than any other subject. To top all of that, she was back on track to being “up to speed” with her grade level, SCORE!

Miss M

Success! With a ton of teachable moments.

But when she left to head to Canada, Little Miss M & her mom took the Sun with them. Hence why Canada was warmer than the entire East Coast of the United states. I promise it was all her fault, since as soon as they started packing the snow began in Pittsburgh, and technically hasn’t stopped. But, I digress…

I had chosen a shift that required being in a classroom setting of students where I clearly couldn’t take the same time to get to know each of them. Revealing my passion for math in 2 hour “one-to-one” sessions 4 times a week transformed into sharing my love of learning to groups of up to 50 students for just ONCE a week.

It was the “dead of winter” and “the heat was on!”

Going from a setting where the growth of one 8 year old was OBVIOUS, I transitioned to engaging 4 – 11 year olds in 45 minutes sections. Was it possible to engage with these students so infrequently and still see meaningful change?

But even in 45 minutes, the transfer of knowledge is clear and I know because little 4 year old Nathan summarized the first 3 weeks of our catapult lessons perfectly in about 60 seconds.


That was over 10 weeks ago! Mind you, little Nathan sees me for about 45 minutes ONCE a week.

Success number 2! With a ton of teachable moments.

So, what’s the teacher’s teachable moment?

That although “obvious growth” isn’t always seen, don’t consider it the “dead of winter” just the “dormancy until Spring.”

There are going to be moments where you prefer the instant gratification of an easy sell to students. You’ll feel more of a success when they’ve mastered facts that you’ve worked tirelessly for them fully grasp. But I’m telling you that even when you don’t SEE learning happening, it’s happening.

Just like a plant’s “dormancy” in winter, it never dies despite our inability to see the fruits of ANY labor. It’s just engineered to store itself in a special state where all the energy is used at just the right time for a truly amazing view. Relax, winter is chill… So many goodies are in store!

“Don’t believe me just watch!”


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