The Good, the Bad and the Meaningful

As I was driving to work the last day of school (a week ago) I felt exhausted and relief at the same time. My eighth year in the public school system hadn’t been easier. Just like a fitness mantra states “It doesn’t get easier with time you just get stronger.” And it is that strength that allows me to reflect on the good, the bad and the meaningful.

The good relies in the ability to make a difference. A tiny itty bitty one but nevertheless a difference. This year it came in the form of a card left by a student just to say “thank you” because it was her first year taking Spanish and she loved it. On a daily basis, the good shows in the form of a smile, a greeting in the target language, a positive message from a parent or administrator, or the improvement on a student’s performance.

The bad? That feeling that I didn’t do enough. The student that seemed I couldn’t reach, the lesson I should have expanded upon, the ancillaries I forgot to use, the trip I didn’t organize, etc…etc…etc…I guess I should worry the day that I don’t feel a bit as a failure. This feeling keeps me thriving.

But it is the meaningful what keeps me in the profession. The lessons learned through my students have made me a better and happier person.

Although many, I would like to share five:

1.Know yourself – Know what makes you happy, sad, angry, how often do you need a snack, a break or a pep talk. As a teacher you must be fully present and ready to handle anything that comes up. Knowing yourself allows you to do your best at any given time in the classroom and in everyday life.

2.Be honest – Students have the ability to see right through you. They know if you are being yourself or pretending to be someone you’re not. Whatever you do, be yourself because they will accept you for who you are, and won’t respect you if you’re phony. Isn’t that true for friends and family as well?

3.Nothing is ever personal – So don’t take any comment or action personally because it is not. Have a talk and move on. If students don’t hold a grudge why should you? What for?

4.Don’t take yourself too seriously – Since my second language is English I often mispronounce a word or mix up a colloquial expression. During my first couple of years I felt embarrassed that students would correct me but I learned to listen, laugh it out and practice saying it correctly. It’s brought the “cute” and “funny” to my personality. ;-D

5.Be loyal – To yourself, your students and your colleagues. I’ve witnessed how students might not necessarily agree with their classmate’s attitude or behavior, but they help and protect each other whenever possible. If we don’t support each other (at work, home or community) how are we going to progress?

Who knew? I know I didn’t. Teaching can be the biggest learning experience one could ever have.

Copyright © 2015 Ericka Collado
%d bloggers like this: