This past week I had the pleasure of taking my son Tyler around the University of Windsor campus where he is starting this fall. Excited with schedule in hand, we walked around finding all the various lecture halls, student hot spots and parking areas to help him feel better prepared. It was a great feeling standing in these beautiful, new, spacious rooms knowing in a few short days he will begin a new chapter of his young life at such a beautiful facility. I teased him that I felt a bit jealous, as I thoroughly enjoyed my university days. We celebrated over lunch and chatted together with Shannon about the upcoming new and exciting days ahead for both her and Tyler as they head back to class. Also this past week, I spent quite a bit of time in my own classroom getting it ready for the first day of school which is quickly approaching. There is always lots to be done that is certain from sharpening pencils, assigning desks, lesson planning, preparing bulletin boards and photocopying just to name a few. It is always enjoyable to set up the room and anticipate what the upcoming school year will hold. In the quiet stillness of the room I ponder the assigned second grade children who will soon enter and become a huge part of my life. Names on a class list will come to life very soon. I wonder about how they will adjust, what their home life is like, where their struggles and strengths are and most importantly how I can make a powerful impact on their precious little lives. I pray that I will be a positive person of influence for them. Above the teaching of the curriculum, I want them to know that their teacher sincerely cares for them, believes in them and wants them to have a successful year. Most importantly the thing that I need to convey to a child to set the year on a positive tone is that “my teacher likes me.” If children feel that, they will feel more free to be themselves as they know they are unconditionally accepted flaws and all. I watched a real inspirational talk on YouTube and the incredible speaker was sharing about a miserable teacher on staff who said “ I am paid to teach these kids, not like them and furthermore I don‘t care if they like me either!” The speaker than quickly replied “Yes but kids don’t learn well from people they don’t like.” How true!
Whether we are students or adults, we are always learning. I encourage my students to think creatively and let me know when and if I make mistakes. Learning from mistakes is so critical at any age. I remember teaching a math lesson completely wrong and not realizing it at first. One gentle student said politely “ This is interesting Mrs. R. because this is the exact opposite of the way we learned this math topic last year.” I quickly looked at my manual, apologetically caught my errors and retaught the lesson. I was very grateful for the kind comments that got me back on track. Through the years I have found better ways to teach concepts. I have had lessons that were so amazing in the delivery and results that I could swear Heaven and all its angels were breaking out in the Hallelujah chorus. Also I have had complete flops where I know the kids were not getting it at all and I desperately wished I could start over and be more effective. The main point is not to beat myself up about what went wrong, but instead do some beneficial reflection. Reflection is key regarding what was successful, and what wasn’t and how could I improve next time.
Life in general is all about reflection. Good old Dr. Phil says in life that “lessons are repeated until they are learned,“ and I completely agree. Sometimes it just takes some of us a little longer to have our critical “a-ha” moments. There are many things in life that if we had the opportunity, I am sure many of us would do very differently. It is important to take a close look at ourselves failures and all, and regroup. It is vital that we do not stay discouraged by aspects of our lives that did not go as planned, but use them as stepping stones for further personal growth. Some people feel they are too old to learn new things or change. The expression “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” could not be further from the truth. September has always felt like a fresh start time for me even before I was a teacher. I have set some goals for myself this fall and two target areas are increasing my fitness levels through better eating and regular exercise and more time for Bible reading. I know these goals will really help me grow as a person, so I am praying that I will be very successful.
My classroom motto is “I am special. I am smart. I will try my best.” This can be your life motto too. Each one of you is so special and precious to God and so many others. You have talents and giftings that are yours alone that the world needs to witness. You are smart and have intelligence in many ways. The psychologist Harold Gardner describes 7 Levels of Intelligence which are linguistic, logical-mathematical, bodily-kinesthetic, spatial, musical, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. Each person has intelligence in certain areas that are unique to him or her and the research is fascinating. I have studied this and know which ones I have and which ones I don’t. I am at peace because I realize I am exactly who I am meant to be. The third part of the motto is I will try my best. No matter what comes your way in life keep trying. As it is said: “It is not the amount of times that you fall that matters, but the amount of times you get up.” How true!
God has a plan for all of us and we often find it by way of the learning process. Some of our best life lessons are learned by trial and error or as they say are learned the “hard way.“ Let’s be open to new learning and know that we are never too old to learn and try new things. If things are not working in an area of your life, fix it. You are worth it and you will be so glad you did.
My classroom is ready. It is quiet and still for only a short while longer. Soon it will be a flurry of activity. We will learn together, laugh together and maybe at times even cry together, yet the important thing is we will do it together. I am ready to teach and learn as well. Are you ready for new learning? We are all in this together. Don’t be afraid to “go back to class,” in areas of your life where you need further instruction. The investment in yourself is so worth it. Remember “You are special. You are smart and through trying your best always, with God by your side, you got this!
Always learning too,
Psalms 86:11 ~ Teach me your way Lord, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.
Little Lesson Learned: Many of the best lessons in life happen outside the classroom.
Copyright: Littlelessonslearnedbydana, 2014