Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Wait Time

on February 3, 2014

Wait Time: The amount of time a teacher gives a student to show a skill before providing support.

Many new teachers struggle with wait time in their classrooms.  Let’s face it, when a student is slow to answer a question, it’s awkward.  You’ve usually got one or two kids waving their hands around to make sure you know they understand, the kid who you are waiting on starts to feel uncomfortable… it’s tricky.  We grow impatient quickly, often “rescuing” our student too soon.

(Of course, in my early days, just because I’m different, I gave too much wait time instead of too little.  In one of the videos of my teaching from my Secondary Methods course, I asked John a question (yes, my now-husband) and then gave considerable wait time hoping for a response.  And when I say “considerable,” I mean a painfully uncomfortable amount of time that still makes me blush and cringe when I think about it.  And of course, he still remembers this lovely event as well.  Ugh.  I need to get over it.)

Wait time with Tessa is different.  Clearly, she isn’t answering questions, but she’s learning new skills and she has to demonstrate them to me.  As I have mentioned, we’re working on the Tummy Time skill (aka, lifting the bowling ball of a head off the ever-so-soft and cozy play mat) because she’s a little behind.  I always struggle to decide if she is done, too worn out to lift her head anymore.  Ellie got angry at the end of her Tummy Time.  Tessa, while a little cranky, seems to be an easy-going, “whatever you want, Mom” kind of child.  But I digress… So I play this mind game each time we do Tessa’s exercises:  Is she done?  Can she do more?  Should I turn her over?  If I turn her over, am I giving up?  And what if I don’t turn her over?  And if I do, will she get a flat head?  Ugh.  Luckily, Tessa has learned her own way of telling me that she is done.

She rolls over.  Um, what??  Rolls over???  At six weeks??  And this is not a one-time occurrence, my friends.  When she is tired of being on her belly, she just flips.  This from the child who isn’t supposed to be able to walk until she is closer to two than one.  And yet, here she is, showing us a skill that usually appears at the age of 4 or 5 months, maybe even 6 or later.  Needless to say, we are impressed.

On the other side of wait time comes my impatience to feed Tessa like a normal baby.  We have not made any progress since coming home from the NICU on Christmas Eve.  Well, that’s not totally true.  When we left, she would take 45 minutes to eat two ounces of milk or formula and we had to pace her, tipping the bottle when she forgot to stop and breathe.  Now, she paces herself pretty well and often takes up to four ounces in about half an hour.  So that’s progress.  But on Friday, we ventured out to Target and it sucked.  There’s just no other way to put it.  She got hungry and I couldn’t feed her like I would with Ellie.  So while Tessa has her exercises to build strength, so do I.  And while my “exercises” are emotional rather than physical, they remind me that Tessa and I are in this together.  She may require a little more wait time than the average child, but we will move forward… together.

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One response to “Wait Time

  1. […] is well documented on this blog (for example, here, here, and here), I often struggle with when Tessa will learn new skills.  Lots of moms whose […]

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