Barbara Howard, Miss Abbott, Abbott discussed on Fresh Air

Fresh Air


But I love those teachers, those teachers who just have that kind of magic touch and the kids respect her and listen to her and we'll do what she says. And while chaos is might be happening all around, her students will not be in chaos. How do they do it? I've always wondered, how do they do it? I don't know, you know, my mother has that ability. And that character Barbara Howard is loosely based on my mother. It's something I've watched her do for years and continue to do, to just get a room of children to act right with nothing more than a look. I just think it's a gift. You know, one interesting thing about it is I think my mother has just as much respect for her students as they do for her. And I think that relationship creates a bond. And I think that's very important. That's an important part of that power. No, I know another inspiration for this series was a teacher that you had when you were in 6th grade, wasn't it? Yeah, when I was in 6th grade, my teacher, miss Abbott, who was my first teacher in a new school that was away from my mother. That was my first time going to another school and having this teacher who I was scared. You know, I was scared to go into the real world or what I looked at is the real world at the time. And she just took me under her wing, and I really give her a lot of credit for, you know, helping me leave the nest. So to speak and she was just incredible and incredible teacher who put her all into making sure that her students felt special and were ready for the world. What did your mother do or what did miss Abbott do to reward and to punish kids? Because I think that's always a tough one, you know? Like what should the rewards and punishments be? Rewards are fun. Rewards can vary. My mom, a kindergarten teacher, a star, a nice gold star, can really brighten up a kid's day. And then I think miss Abbott did things like fun trips and fun fun trips and just fun things like doing murals and stuff like that felt like rewards. And honestly, just positive reinforcement, just building confidence, you know? Getting in a, it feels like a reward when you're teaching well when you're doing the job well for your students. I think for punishment, that's a hard one because I think it varies from child to child. I will say about both my mom and miss Abbott, I don't think punishment is really in their vocabulary. I think they always have to look at it as a broader issue. Why is this child acting out? What is going on at home? What's going on in their behavior pattern in this classroom? Because they get to know these students. Very often for my mom, the child that misbehaved the most was kind of like her favorite student by the end of the year. She would have this weird relationship where she would come home and my family would know, okay, this is your problem child this year, but it's also like your favorite child because you come home and talk about them every day..

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