What I’ve Learned From Teaching (So Far)

Growing up, it seems like teachers have the answers to everything, from a simple math problem, to the key to explaining the secrets of the universe. We now know that’s not true, but teachers are still a huge source of wisdom for all of us. When I decided to major in education, I was excited to be one of those sources of wisdom – little did I know that it would be the students who would be teaching me. As a junior, I have had the chance to work in a pre-school for a year and a half, and to teach for a semester in a high school English classroom. Here are a few of the things that I have learned from my wide range of students.

Patience

Patience is something that I’ve never had in the least bit. When you enter a room of twenty small children, though, you realize that patience is key. While the students weren’t patient to say the least (when the kids want to play a game, they want to play now, not in five minutes while we wait for everybody else), they took their time when deciding how to answer a question, or even about how to feel about a situation (Do they want to cry? Do they want to hug you? Nobody knows). Learning how to not get frustrated in a situation where things aren’t going as smoothly as you planned is the key to learning patience – now I know how my teachers, and my mom, have learned to be so patient with me and my lack of decision making.

Joy

This simple idea of being joyful can be more complicated than it seems. On days where I felt down, or like the world just wasn’t on my side, I would go into the classroom, and I would see the pure bliss coming from the children. From the preschoolers running towards me to hug me when I walked into the room, to the high school students getting excited and thanking me for an exciting lesson, I have learned that it is just the small things that show that life is good.  It is important to look on the bright side and realize that there is good in everything and everybody.

Be Yourself

Young children are lucky enough to (for the most part) not be influenced by society in a way that makes them feel like being an individual is wrong. They wear what they want to wear, talk to whomever they want to, and aren’t afraid to be silly. With the high school students, there is a very clear difference in the way they interact with their groups, what they wear, and how they act in public. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s just the product of society and adolescence, but it is the preschoolers that have helped me realize how important it is for you to just be yourself.

You Can Make A Difference!

In a world with so many problems and people, it’s hard to feel like you can make a difference on your own. When you’re reading to a student and they are able to read a word back to you for the first time, you see that this isn’t the case at all. Sure, you’re not ending world hunger, but you’re taking a step in the right direction, and making the world a better place – especially for that student.

While there are so many more lessons I have learned from teaching, there are still many more that are yet to come. To experience this on you own, you don’t need to actually be a teacher – you can volunteer, or even get a job helping out at a school!

Photo Sources:

http://www.tlpd.ttu.edu/teach/teach_new.png

http://contextualfeed.com/top-4-things-consider-pursuing-career-teaching-737.html

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/29273466301701558/

http://www.sri.com/work/projects/teaching-and-californias-future

http://www.pinterest.com/pin/147492956521151348/