I’m a teacher. I love teaching. When I ‘m not in front of a class I’m teaching my daughter, my husband, friends, myself. It’s something I feel , that comes naturally. It’s something I’ve been “fine tuning” for 15 years.
And just a few months ago, I realized, I’ve had this thing all wrong.
Yes, by “trade” and paperwork from the state in which I reside, I am, technically, a teacher. I can teach kids and adults. The paperwork and certificates say so. BUT what I figured out just a few months ago is this: they’re the ones teaching me. I’m there to learn from them.
Have I announced this to my classes and let them take over? Anarchy in the classroom? No, not quite. But, I have explained to them (they’re teens) that learning never ends. You don’t finish college, a Masters (or even a doctorate) and just say “I’m done. I’ve completed my learning now.” It doesn’t happen, and it never will.
Let me also explain that I have the honor and priviledge of teaching children with Autism and physical disabilities. I’ve had this honor for almost a year now. In addition to my “regular” classes, I teach art to these “special” children and they are the ones who convinced me that I’m there to learn from them, not the other way around.
Yes, we have heard this before. We are always learning, it’s not a new concept – at least to those open to it. But looking deeper, my special needs students don’t need my art classes to make them better. They don’t need my “speeches” and demonstrations on color and texture. I do. My students don’t need to see me prepare samples of work, I do. This is the kind of inner learning I’m talking about. Realizing that I’m just as much the student as they are is rewarding. It’s like looking into a starry sky and seeing infinity.