Thursday, September 4, 2014

30 Day Blog Challenge: Day 4

The thing you love the most about teaching.

I decided to become a teacher because I wanted to hold a teacher's manual in my arms.  I wanted to have all the answers.  I remember watching my elementary teacher walk around during math class with that big fat manual in her hands and she knew EVERYTHING!!  That is what I wanted!

So - when I became a teacher 26 years ago - I had that manual in my arms and I loved it.
At least I thought I loved it!
But - I began to understand that knowing the answers wasn't really teaching.
Google knows every answer there is (at least I think it does) and it certainly isn't a teacher.

So - my thinking changed.  If it wasn't the answers what was it?

Relationships!

When I was student teaching I had the privilege of working with two amazing teachers!  One of those, Mrs. Gugel, told me a story that I have never forgotten.

She had before school duty one morning as a 5th grade teacher. She was standing in the hallway talking to other teachers as we do when we arrive at school.  One of her 5th graders walked up to her and paused a little - she looked down and asked what he needed.
He looked up and said, "My dog died this morning."
She said, " uh huh," and turned back to the teacher dismissing this young man.
He walked away down the hallway.
It was then that it sank in what he had actually said.

That horrible feeling of missing your moment with a student had never left her.
She made amends - but she never felt like it was enough.
I watched her build relationships with everyone of her students- and she traced it back to that moment in the front hallway of Washington Township Elementary school.

Relationships!

I loved knowing that I had a whole year with my 4th graders.
I had a whole year to share the United States and math and Where the Red Fern Grows.
I had a whole year to introduce myself to them and for them to introduce themselves to me!

We built relationships!

That has always been my very most favorite thing about teaching.

As a teacher of adults - my classroom has changed.  But I still believe it comes back to relationships.

1 comment:

Heather Hollands said...

I just love the story about the teacher with the manual and all the answers, and how you transition to teaching really being about relationships. Awesome!