It only takes one person to believe in you to truly make a deep identity level change for the better. Growing up, I had a host of learning disabilities that ironically hindered my performance in the outdated school setting.
Admittedly, I found the material to be uninteresting and my teachers could sense this as well within my performance reports. I remember being so upset about school that I focused all of my energy primarily on sports as an outlet to harness frustration. I became really good at them as I was a diligently hard-working person within that faculty.
Throughout my youth, I had a considerable amount of respect for my grandpa for being such a courageous, successful, and generous person (He was awarded a Silver Star in World War II which is one of the highest decorations of valor during the war). My grandpa always genuinely believed in me and it was something that I hold dear to this day. I felt horrible for how I was underperforming in school while telling him that everything was fine to not break his heart. It really resonated when I was at the end of hospital bed watching him take his last breath. He always encouraged me to not sell myself short in terms of universities as I had limited options out of high school due to a football injury and no incessant backup plan with academics.
I ended up working harder for something bigger than myself as my grandpa always talked about his grandchildren getting accepted into the University of Michigan- Ann Arbor. In my case, this was a pipe dream as most colleges rejected my applications and additional efforts. Shortly after, I went to a community college for two years and worked my butt off – This was the first time I ever officially engaged with my school studies, so it was considerably more difficult to overcome that lost stint. I remember being so involved with my work that getting into the University of Michigan was the number one priority in my life. I was initially rejected after a year at community college and this drove me to improve even more upon the progress I had already made. I went to regular office hours, tutoring, engaged in public speaking and debate clubs (A huge fear of mine at the time) etc. I then reapplied the following year and was finally accepted to the University of Michigan.
This was one of the two moments I had ever witnessed my father cry in my entire life but this time was out of joy – I genuinely believe that if my grandpa had not believed in me, none of this would have been remotely possible and I would have never considered it an option. In society, we have occupations that label us as teachers/professors/instructors but in reality, all people are a collective union of teachers and learners within the confines of a symbiotic relationship. We feed off of each other and much of our behavior/attitudes are influenced by the ways in which we are nurtured.
In society, we have occupations that label us as teachers/professors/instructors but in reality, all people are a collective union of teachers and learners within the confines of a symbiotic relationship. We feed off of each other and much of our behavior/attitudes are influenced by the ways in which we are nurtured.
Teaching ESL offers considerable peace of mind to most instructors that transcend the repetitive maneuvers of traditional work and makes life more meaningful if applied correctly. There is a big responsibility for honing principles that will play an integral part of the student’s growth, so it must be taken seriously and with conscious reflection.
Teachers have the innate ability to shape the way learners think and there is a substantial amount of power that is involved in that developmental process. In other words, we are molding brains into what they will be in the future and better or worsening humanity as a result. We are the equidistant parents that children see for a majority of their days and it is a huge obligation to inspire them with encouragement and high expectations. Sociological studies assert that humans belong in tight-knit communities that transcend the responsibilities of nuclear families. Likewise, we are biologically programmed to have compassion towards other human beings as it is a team effort for the survival, spirituality, and companionship. As instructors, students look up to us as an authority (In a positive sense of the word) even if this is not initially apparent or the students do not convey interest.
Try to think of the big picture in terms of teaching your students that goes above and beyond the fundamentals of education. Find out what their passions are, their fears, their doubts and tailor the lessons to meet those metaphysical needs. I had a student that was really into his artwork and it was incredible as he drew abstract pictures of nature. I tried to think in terms of the students’ interest, so I learned how to draw and encouraged him to enter a contest (He received 2nd place & I remained a horrible drawer). The goal is to leave the student a better person than when you started – That is our responsibility each and every time in the classroom.
Please share in the comment section someone who has had a profound impact on your development and if your life would be different had you not had that experience. Sometimes the effects are immediate and sometimes they are delayed, but we all remember that one person who went the extra mile for us.
Let’s give back, it is our responsibility as teachers.
Teacher Daniel 🙂