I loved spending time with my grandmother, but she didn’t have cable television. When my sisters and I were at her home, we watched a lot of shows on PBS. Our favorites shows to watch were Reading Rainbow, Ghostwriter, and Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. Once I became a parent, PBS was a channel I continued to watch with my sons. When they were younger, two shows they really enjoyed watching were Super Why! and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, a spin-off from Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.
Of course, I loved Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood because it reminded me of my childhood when I watched Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood with my grandma. The other reason I loved this show is because of Daniel Tiger’s preschool teacher who is called Teacher Harriet on the show. Not only do the children in Teacher Harriet’s class have the opportunity to learn and explore, they also learn how to regulate their emotions and work with others.
Here are four reasons Teacher Harriet is awesome:
She understands the importance of social-emotional learning.
Teacher Harriet is a skillful master of helping students regulate their emotions. She shows them the appropriate way to express their emotions, listen to the feelings of others, and resolve a conflict. She uses a calm voice to facilitate the learning and in the midst of student chaos, she always remains chill.
She models how to be confident in who you are.
In the episode “Teacher Harriet’s New Hairdo,” Daniel Tiger drew a picture of Teacher Harriet. He took it to school to give it to her, but when he arrived at school, he was shocked by how she looked. Instead of having her hair in a headband and curly in its natural glory, she had it up in a bun. Daniel didn’t seem to like the change, but Teacher Harriet responded in song, “You can change your hair or what you wear, but no matter what you do, you’re still you.” This helped Daniel Tiger understand that his teacher was still the same person even though she changed her hair and she modeled how to be confident in who you are.
She uses music to enhance her lessons.
Not only can Teacher Harriet sing, she can also play the guitar. There are various ways educators can incorporate music into their lessons to engage students. When it comes to social-emotional learning, many times music is the tool Teacher Harriet uses.
She is a teacher of color.
Teachers of color are underrepresented in schools across America. It is great for children who watch Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood to be able to see a person of color in a positive light when they are young. She rocks her natural hair and is able to manage a diverse classroom of humans of different races and various kinds of talking animals.
There are quite a few awesome fictional teachers, but Teacher Harriet deserve to be counted among them. I’m glad my children had the opportunity to learn with her at home before they went off to preschool.