All I Needed to Know I Learned from My Students
I LOVE teaching. I’ve been teaching college courses for the last 8 years. I love it as much today as I did when I first started. I love being in the classroom, listening to students, watching them grow. I love the whole process. Yet when I really think about it I think they teach me way more than I ever teach them. Some of the things my students have taught me are:
Dig Deep. Students don’t want fluff – they want the real deal. I’m constantly challenged to dig deeper, to learn more and to keep growing as the result of teaching. My students ask great questions, challenge me and call me on the stuff I gloss over. I’m a better person as the result of my students comments and questions.
Laugh at myself. There are many times I catch my students laughing at how I say something or at something I did that was a bit weird. They remind me to laugh at myself and all my little quirks.
Have Compassion. I have all types of students, from all walks of life. Some have it all together and others don’t. I was a train wreck when I was in college so I know what its like to not have it all together – in fact do we ever really have it all together? I have a strict grading system and expect a great deal from my students but I’ve learned the most important thing I can give is compassion. Compassion is having concern for others, it’s caring about students and their lives. Life doesn’t always happen in a straight line and if I have concern and am gentle with others they may be more likely to succeed.
Don’t Judge. It would be easy to make quick judgements in the classroom. I’ve learned over the years that any time I make a judgement – a student proves me wrong. I’ve learned to step back and be in the moment allowing students to surprise me with their brilliance. It’s so fun when it happens. I learn over and over again that no matter what – each student is unique and on their own path to success.
Stay Young at Heart. Not all my students are young but most are young at heart. My students keep me young. They teach me all the cool things, introduce me to new technologies and force me to stay young at heart. Their energy is contagious and I’m grateful to be a part of college life.
Have fun. Learning should be fun. I can tell how much fun they’re having and how engaged they are just by looking at them. I learn each semester to listen to what they’re telling me through words and actions. And then I have to make learning fun. And to do that I have to have fun teaching. When I’m exited and giving it my all – students are more engaged and have more fun.
Who teaches you the most about life? What are you learning from them?