I never consider writing a number 8 to be troublesome and difficult, until I accompanied my son, Jalu, while he was doing his homework. You see, Jalu, who will be 5 years old in November, is attending a kindergarten. One of his homework that he had to do is to learn to write numbers. His teacher will write the number on his homework book, for instance, five 6s, one in each line. At home, Jalu will copy the number over and over.
Of course, he has his directions from his teacher of how he has to move his pencil across the box to create the numbers, like, for number 1 is “stand”, number 2 is “curve, cross, sleep”, number 3 is “curve, curve”, and so on. Yet, number 8 seems to be the most difficult of all. The directions requires him to know which way to make the curve (which for your info is going to the below left), which way to create the cross (which is to the upper left), and which way to make the last curve. I never realize how difficult it is and how in order to accomplish such “simple” task, someone needs to learn spatial concepts.
Another thing, he seems to need be to be reminded all the time to focus on the task on his hands. I notice that when his other classmates will just do their task independently, Jalu will absentmindedly pay attention to other things in his classroom than his task. He seems to not be able to be left alone in doing his job. This of course forces me to always be with him in class, to encourage him to finish the task. Although I really want him to be independent, it seems that with his lack of focus he needs supervision all the time.
Watching him struggling on writing the numbers (and these days the letters A, B and C) and sometimes yelling the instructions to him (and most of the time being frustrated myself) taught me two things as a teacher. First, I need to pay attention to things that I consider as easy. Just because it is easy for me and for most of the students, I can’t ignore and underestimate the simple things that I need to teach. Secondly, every student has their own pace and their own ability to grasp the knowledge. As a teacher, I have to use the most appropriate strategy for each student, because each of them is unique.