Liat, School Speech Pathologist, Mother, DC
Liat is proud mother to Sivan and works full time as School-based Speech Language Pathologist. She was interviewed with her husband, Adam, by their friend Erin.
What do you want for Sivan when she’s grown up?
I want her to be emotionally fulfilled, to care for others and be cared for. I don’t really care how much money she makes but I’d like her to feel like she can stand on her own and not need anyone else financially. She’s very strong willed so she’ll probably have to be a leader in whatever job she has – similar to her father ☺
Thinking of this vision of Sivan as an adult – what’s the role of school in getting her there?
It’s hard to say what her learning style will be. But children need more movement and hands-on learning to really develop the way they should. Some students are able to fit the traditional model of“sit in your seat and listen” but not all are. I hope that she can thrive in whatever learning environment she’s in and that is honors whatever her learning style is. I hope she feels challenged and very supported. I hope she can also learn what her strengths and challenges are as a student.
School is also about peer relationships and learning how to self-advocate and get along with other people. I would like her to go to a school that has good peer models. Thats not easy beause at some schools you obviously have children that might feel very entitled to things and other students that have greater social emotional issues that may model innapropriate behavior. Ideally I want a school with good peer models because it’s a huge influence on a child’s development especially when she is a teenager.
Ultimately, I think that kids remember most how teachers spoke to them and treated them more than the content that they covered with them. I want my child’s teacher to act loving towards her. I feel children know if teachers don’t like them, even at a very young age. They pick up on the tone of voice and the nonverbal communication and they can very quickly feel that they’re not wanted. I want her to always feel she’s wanted. I don’t really care if she learns algebraic formulas - I care more about whether a teacher asks if everything is okay and if she wants to sit down and chat with her if she needs someone to talk to.
Will school play the role it should for Sivan?
I think that depends on which level of school you’re talking about., and which career she chooses to pursue. There is much talk now about how college is becoming less important for careers - but that’s really different depending on the career a person chooses. For instance, if you become a doctor or teacher – there’s no ‘taking a different route’ or ‘creating your own course’. It’s very black and white: You go to school, you a degree and then you can (hopefully) get a job.
And yet, some of the best people I know in my line of work are ‘career switchers’. They seem to be more satisfied with their work because they look at the challenges from a different perspective and they bring different skills. They can often improvise on the spot and they have more critical thinking skills. I think thats really lacking in much of the education at the undergraduate and graduate level in my field, and I see thats the area most graduate students need help with during their externships.
I think in the U.S. right now the cultural norm is to encourage your children go to college (if you can affford it) because that’s what ‘you’re supposed to do ‘. Parents spend so much money while their children ‘ figure out what they want to do’. In other countries they think would you’re insane – how could you spend your parents’ money to have an undeclared major and go find yourself when you could be working full time or learning a trade while you try to figure out your future.
What was one of your most empowering learning experiences?
Mine was extra-curricular rather than in school. My school children from different social economic levels. Some were college boun but some were not and the cost was a big factor. In college I had many more meaningful and more professional, leadership type experiences. I was given more opportunities to speak in front of crowds, start cubs, run meetings, etc..
But in high school, I was very shy and didn’t really ‘love’ school. I liked math a lot, but not many other subjects. But I was co-captain of the volleyball team and woke up every morning so excited to go to practice. My volleyball coach definitely worked up building the team’s self esteem.. I was small but he told me I had to play like I was 7 feet tall. It wasn’t “tough love” - he expected a lot out of me and he helf me accountable in a positive way.