I’m not sure if I teach more lessons as a teacher, or learn more.
This week alone I’ve taught so much. In history we discussed coats of arms and designed our own, populating them with symbols of our values. We also learned local history of New Hampshire. I taught early algebra in math class – how to use variables and such. In composition class we learned how to conduct an interview, and how to write a second draft and peer edit. I taught Latin vocabulary and wrote a quiz on it. Today I got a bunch of little kids really excited about the endless possibilities at hand when using our 15 spelling words to write a cohesive short story. Who knew this could be so exciting?
That said, I can’t help but think that I’ve learned more than I’ve taught. Unfortunately it’s more difficult to enumerate and put a name to each lesson I’ve learned. I’ve learned that the 7 year old girl who is very confident is very insecure, and that the very smart one is very self conscious about her grades. I’ve learned that the biggest, toughest student takes things a little too seriously and I have to be calmer with him. I learned that the quietest girl in the class is actually the most difficult to get to follow directions, and the hardest to discipline.
Teaching has taught me to demand a lot more of the respect owed to me under particular circumstances. It has taught me to have a greater take-charge attitude. It has taught me public speaking. It has taught me resilience and patience.
It has also taught me a lot about myself, and my own strengths and weaknesses. I’m a little too sarcastic. I’m a little too impatient and maybe a tad short tempered. But I’m good with kids, really good, which surprises me. I can identify with them and understand them and talk to them while still maintaining professionalism. I am adaptable – I can deal with what the day gives me and I quickly come to terms with what is a realistic expectation for the day and what isn’t. I’m funny. (I already thought this, but it has now been confirmed.) I’ve also grown to know my limits and not to push myself too far. That lesson is a tough one.
I think most importantly I’ve continued to learn a lesson that I’ve been learning nearly every day of my life so far. That is: not to take myself (and life) so seriously. I stress a lot, but lately I’ve learned to stress less. I’ve learned to breathe more and be more care free. It’s made a lot of difference in my life. I’m not as worried. I don’t put as much pressure on myself. It’s good for me.
Let’s hear it for life long learning.