There is Always a First Time

There are many “firsts” in a person’s life.

As I see pictures posted of first babies, I think of parents who begin a life-long adventure in daily lessons of child rearing. Learning to change a diaper, quiet a crying baby, child proof areas for play, bathe the little one, and figure out the feeding schedules is not for the faint of heart. Yet, new parents seek out advice from YouTube and parenting blog sites that are much like researching a term paper.

The way these “firsts” are taught to children is often through the necessity of the parents’ keeping their sanity or through the gentle patience of a well-rested seasoned aunt or grandparent.

Who really is the first teacher?

It is the parents, of course.

Thinking back to my own kids, I remember reading books with them, collecting tadpoles, them putting on plays, talks about bullies, sharing, and many more values that start in the home. My mother would often take them onto her lap, just like her grandmother did to me, and go through an entire book of nursery rhymes. The kids soaked the new information up like sponges.

Not everyone is as lucky as another. A single mother working and taking kids to day care has a different experience. A family who is just getting by or one living with an abusive person is not given an equal shot to learning the firsts. It can create anger and a sense of injustice.

Just like we learn firsts at different times, so too, our ability to we learn academics is unequal


In discussions with teachers who are dealing with the first of teaching virtually, our mindset has to be adjusted to how much content we can deliver over a computer. Teachers are beating themselves up over not being effective enough, or not covering enough material as they are expected to in normal face-to-face learning.

I was flabbergasted to learn that teachers are feeling anxiety of not having their students ready for testing. The Coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc in every country on the globe. Nothing is normal. Why, in the world, would testing rigor remain the same? The tables are turned and there is no teaching going on that is even close to the value of moving classroom learning, yet the same testing?

This is a first in education and just like the teachers have adapted, I would hope that the testing cycles and expectations would be eased for this school year. I cannot imagine the degree of angst an administrator feels who must pass this off as a viable expectation.

At Palanca Leadership, we are here to help. We offer Zoom Chats called Tuesdays are for Teachers. We have resources for you to look at. Our goal is to assist the first year teachers but we are witnessing an unprecedented first in our world as well. How best to assist teachers?

Let's start with a tip. If you are a parent of a struggling student, you may use the information below to assist you and your learner this year.

K-12 Connect is a free tutoring service offered by Grand Valley State University. will guide you to the place to find a tutor. They are students and they are offering assistance in all subjects K-12 for free. In the time of parents not only being life teachers but assisting with academics, I invite you to take a look at this when both you and your student are feeling frustrated.

Let’s help each other.

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