Thursday, April 4, 2013

Lessons on Teaching

It can be quite painful to your pride but also highly beneficial to watch a video of yourself speaking in front of an audience. 

At least that's how it was for me tonight, reviewing some videos from student-teaching in South Africa. I was thrilled at the novelty of being there; I desired to show my heart transparently and show the kids that I just loved them.....

But I don't think that was always conveyed in the way I taught them. When I go back and watch the videos, the tape does not always clearly reveal that I was completely taken with these kids and wanting to see them grow. Watching Sarah teach her 6th graders, I see how much I was missing out on the fun angle, the dramatic love of life that she so readily shares with her class. And while I'm not saying my whole personality should change in order to "wow" them, I am learning more and more that teaching is a chance for your whole personality to shine through. 

There is a reason God made me the way He did, and rather than use that to brag on myself or share endless information in front of my young audience, it CAN be used to pour myself into loving them. 

Because in retrospect, I wish I could work all the harder not just to be good at teaching them, but to build relationships with them. In a book I looked at today on teaching, there was a quote from an 11 year old girl in New Mexico who just said, 

"The greatest teacher of all.... just wants to be my friend." 

I think there's a whole bunch of truth in that statement. Even though it is a job, the kids should never ever wonder if I like being around them. They should be confident in the fact that not only do I want them to grow, but I love them for who they are RIGHT NOW. 

I am fully confident in the fact that the Lord has me here in the States learning and growing in my skills as a good teacher. I see that once again after visiting Pinedale's public school today to see Kagan Cooperative learning style and learn things to incorporate into my classroom. It was so good! 

Yet my ever-present thought was, "Could this be used in a country like South Africa? How would it be received? Do they already practice this, or is it primarily an American ideal?" I wonder if the Lord is constantly showing me these lessons on teaching - through internet, through Sarah Pitchford, and through assessment of my own methods - in order to prepare me for what He has down the road. 

I admit, I would love to pursue my education, perhaps even work on a master's degree. I want to be GOOD at what I love to do. 

Yet, the highest concept of success in my mind still remains 

in that brick schoolroom underneath the blazing and beautiful

African sun. 

As much as I know I need to grow, that is still where I long to be. 

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Thanks for sharing with me!