Faith, Family, & Focaccia

A faith and culture Mommy blog, because real life gets all mixed together like that.

Teaching Class: Day 11 of the April Poetry Challenge

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My mom arrived for a visit yesterday, and was an instant Rock Star with my kids. Someone they love who has no dishes to wash, or phone to answer, and who could not be more delighted to sit and read twenty-seven books in a row!

Now, Rock Star is not my mom’s most natural persona, but she adapted well and soaked in the love, and smiles, and hugs, and exuberant attention. Then, Princess Imagination decided that it was time to play her favorite game. The result gave me a new appreciation for ways to teach my driven little daughter.

Teaching Class


When she grows up, my daughter wants to be a teacher


or maybe math

definitely grade school.

She likes to be in control.

She’s practicing already,

but her little brother is not a very willing student.


Gra’ma’s arrival means a happy partner in the practice classroom,

a student for her lessons,

who doesn’t bore the mini-teacher with distracting stories,

about the real-life classrooms she once taught,

or eight full years of teaching me at home.

Gra’ma is content to play the game.


Out comes the Easel, and the teacher-voice.

Perhaps she chooses math because this is Gra’ma’s subject,

or perhaps because her genes run true,

and numbers captivate her own well-structure mind.


Unfortunately, today she over-reaches

she can’t yet calculate below the zero line.

My eavesdropping ears tilt forward,

anxious for the sounds of six-year-old frustration,

when she cannot pretend to master all.


But somehow, there is only laughter

and a willing switch of teachers.

Gra’ma draws a number line,

begins a clear and helpful explanation


Princess Imagination doesn’t really want to learn

she wants to teach again.


So, a new lesson now: patterns

and Gra’ma sits and listens,

answers simple questions,

gives attention to the little teacher,

and as she does, teaches an important lesson by example.

The greatest teachers

are always ready

to learn.


Author: Serena Gideon Rice

In early 2011 my family moved our home, temporarily, from New Jersey to Milan, Italy. In the process I quit what had been my dream job conducting policy-directed social science research, to focus on my other dream job, raising our two young children. The three-year adventure was exciting, exhausting, disorienting, fulfilling, and countless other contradictions. It also birthed in me a desire to share my reflections on life's joys and challenges with anyone who cares to reflect with me. Now that we have returned to the US I'm finding that the new perspective I gained in Europe has come with me, and gives me a whole new way of interacting with my home. There's still so much to learn and share! I hope you'll share the journey, and add your own lessons to my daily education.

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