Friday, November 14, 2014

Grateful to Learn

Oh, if I only knew then what I know now.  Those famous last words. I have to admit that I became a learner when I became a teacher.  The more I learned about teaching, the more I learned about learning and it was not all academics. I learned about myself, about others and about navigating through life.  I learned about motivation, inspiration, reflection and growth.  

There's a great deal that I've learned and great deal more that's left to learn, but here's a list of five things that I'm grateful to have learned in my teaching career.

1.  School is much more than academics.  Despite all the efforts to quantify the knowledge acquired in our classrooms, schools is so much more than the three R's.  It took me a while to learn this, but all we are doing is laying a foundation for further learning.  And if we are not careful to add a little inspiration and motivation to the mix, our kids' houses will be crumbling.

2.  Questions are more important than answers.  If kids don't learn to ask the right questions, they won't obtain the right answers.  I am not developing robots with artificial intelligence, but rather empowering human beings and sending them off on their quest to explore and discover.  It's like a Google search.  If you don't search for the right things, you won't get what you need.

3.  It's okay for students to teach me a thing or two.  Or three or four or a thousand.  I learn from educational experts, from my colleagues but I learn a great deal from my students.  They are the gauge that tells me if my system is running efficiently or breaking down.  Sometimes they tell me what I want to hear, sometimes not, but I love it when they tell me something I never knew before. 

4.  I must capture a student's heart before I capture their mind.  While I don't set out to be liked, realistically if students don't believe I care about them as a person, there's no way they will be inspired and motivated to learn.  The great thing about ESL is that as we sharpen English language skills, they get to share what's on their hearts and minds.

5.  It is in failing that I succeed.  This is a message that I preach to my students and myself every day.  Failures are not the end, but only the beginning, so long as we reflect and learn. It's up to us to make them stepping stones or stumbling blocks.

Still learning, still growing and so much more left to learn and grow.


1 comment:

  1. Agree! Well said. I recently earned my ESOL endorsement in Oregon. I would be curious how you deliver services compared to Oregon's current model.


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