Michelle Mallonee Long
WYSIWYG (pronounced “wiz-ee-wig”), standing for “What you see is what you get,” is a term reportedly coined by Flip Wilson in the late 1960’s on the Laugh-In show. The term is most currently used in computing as a system in software editing.
WYSIWYG is a great way to have childcare teachers check-in with themselves before entering the classroom each day. At times it is difficult to put on a “teaching face” when you are not feeling your best, there are issues pressing on your mind, or troubles on the home front. Placing a mirror near the timecards or in the staff lounge with a sign that reads “WYSIWYG – What are your students getting from you today?” gives the teachers a chance to see what the children will see. Children are perceptive and will pick up on facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language from the teachers.
The WYSIWYG sign could also be accompanied by a box to “leave your troubles behind.” Individual boxes allow teachers the opportunity to drop their troubles upon arrival and pick them back up at the end of the day as needed, while offering some privacy. This is similar to the story of “The Trouble Tree” – author unknown. You could play off the story and use a tree branch with some leaf shaped papers for teachers to “Leaf” their troubles behind.”
The Trouble Tree – author unknown
A carpenter who was hired to help a man restore an old farmhouse had just finished his first day on the job, and everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong. First of all, on his way to work he had a flat tire that cost him an hour’s worth of pay, then his electric saw broke, and after work his old pickup truck refused to start. His new boss volunteered to give him a lift home and the whole way to his house the carpenter sat in stone silence as he stared out his window. Yet on arriving, he invited his boss in for a few minutes to meet his family. As they walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. When he opened the door, he underwent an amazing transformation. His tanned face was one big smile as he hugged his two small children and kissed his wife. Afterwards, the man walked his boss to his car to say thank you. Now on their way out of the house, the boss’ curiosity got the best of him so he had to ask the man about the tree on the front porch. He said, “I noticed when you came up on the porch before going into your house you stopped and touched the tree, why?” “Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied. “I know I can’t stop from having troubles out on the job, but one thing’s for sure – my troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and children. So, I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home. Then in the morning I pick them up again. Funny thing is,” he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick ‘em up, they aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”
Try introducing the concept during a staff meeting. Read Shel Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree” and hold a discussion on how teachers can give the children what they need, even when they feel they, themselves, have nothing left to give. This could lead into an entire staff series using a tree as a motivational theme; however, that seems like a whole other article.