Familiar with this game? Would you rather eat chocolate or pizza for the rest of your life? A question is posed and you need to pick one of the options. So many dilemmas. So many things to think about before your decision is made. And you have only milliseconds. You have to answer NOW!
I posed a “would you rather” question on my Twitter . . . .go ahead over there and answer it. I have a different one for you here.
Would you rather teach someone something or learn something from someone?
For 25 years of my life I have spent just about every single day teaching young people something (I hope!). It wasn’t until the latter part of my career that I really started to understand that my students had quite a bit to teach me, if I was just open to the learning process. As a teacher, many will say they are lifelong leaners and that is why they entered this career in the first place. I agree. I said the same. But I relied much more heavily on workshops and conferences and post graduate classes, etc.to accept knowledge that was being given to me.
I don’t remember the exact day I truly learned to glean wisdom from my students, but I am forever grateful that I learned to do that! I have been handed a lifetime of pure wisdom from the young people in my life. Today I want to share 5 powerful lessons I learned from my students over the years. I think they are relevant to everyone, whether you teach or not.
1. Laugh everyday. Kids are funny, I tell ya! And what an assortment would be sitting in front of me every single day. The multitude of personalities allowed for many laughs and many ways to twist and turn thoughts, to make something even more funny than it started out to be.
2. Teach the whole child. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that the young people sitting in front of us are dancers and musicians and bakers and writers, etc. They have so many talents and interests outside the four walls of a classroom. Engage them in their interests and relate your subject matter to that which they are able to relate.
3. Our students are people. They have feelings and they deserve respect and they have thoughts they want to share and ideas they want heard. They’re no different than us in their human needs.
4. Set high expectations. They WILL strive to reach them. They DO want to please. They want to be given the praise they deserve after they work hard to achieve something. The higher the expectations, the harder they strive. I am not saying to set goals so high they cannot be met, but students build self esteem by working hard and achieving goals . . . just like you and I !
5. Be a better version of myself each day. The best teaching is by example. When I endeavor to improve myself each day, I can only hope my students will reflect that example.
To answer my original question . . . .I would much rather learn something everyday. My students have taught me well. I feel ready to go out into the world and do what I need to do.
Thank you, Dear Students of Mine! I like myself better for knowing you and I am so grateful for your presence in my life!