My students make me feel loved every day. They really do. I am so lucky. They make me feel so loved with their smiles, their looks, their words and just being themselves. Some of them make me feel like a famous rock star with their reactions to me some days. I love my students. I really do.
Since I teach kindergarten through 8th grade you can imagine who makes me feel like a rock star. The little ones, the five and six year olds who see me in the hallway and scream, “HOLA! as if they are surprised I am outside of my classroom… so excited to see me out and about. It’s an awesome “job”. I hardly ever call it my job or work. Most days it doesn’t feel like work (of course there are some days when it is definitely work.). I am so fortunate to go to a place almost every day where I feel loved. My older students make me feel just as loved. These middle school kids are so hilarious. What a crazy stage in life. The things they ask me about and the things they are interested to know about me reminds me of the way I felt about my beloved swim coaches throughout my life whom I loved and adored and couldn’t wait to talk with and spend time with. They scream hola just as loudly in the hallway. It is hilarious.
Now the hard part of my “job”…….
I have to remember each day to make every one (well most I hope) of my students feel just as loved and validated as they make me feel. It is SO difficult some days. My husband says I try too hard and think too much and he never remembers any of his teachers doing what I do or worrying about what I worry about. So that makes my task all the more important to me. I have these kids as my students for NINE years. That is a long time. The hardest part of my job is making sure these kids feel as loved as they make me feel for that LONG period of time. As human beings we just DO NOT all get along. That is just human nature. So when I have a student that proves to be very difficult to love, man do I ever learn A TON from that kid!
I just finished the book “Breaking Night” by Liz Murray from homeless to Harvard. She is living proof of what feeling loved and validated by her teachers can do!
So it is said A LOT at staff meetings, professional development sessions, workshops and conference galore that teachers are the WORST students…well, after school today from 3:30 to 4:30 in my classroom I witnessed the exact opposite!
I taught a one hour TPRS Spanish lesson to about ten of my colleagues. Yes, after a long school day, TEN of my fellow teachers agreed to come and learn Spanish with me! That is amazing in itself! We will have class each Wednesday from 3:30 to 4:30 until the end of the school year. One of my colleagues even stated before we began class, “You know Lauren, teachers are the worst students!” Well not today! I am sooooo accustomed to teaching children each day. I teach them vocabulary, we learn it in context with some physical responses and then tell stories, read and play games. It is a routine that every single one of my students is so accustomed to because they meet me when they are five and leave me when they are fourteen. Learning Spanish through this crazy TPRS method is just what we do. It is their normal. It is Spanish class. They know no different. My students are engaged, they are learning, they are fun and it is very enjoyable for me and usually for them too (I think.) I enjoy myself each day as I teach Kindergarten – 8th grade, but today teaching adults was a completely different sense of enjoyment!
These teachers I taught today were THE BEST students in my opinion! I had so much fun! I gave everyone a TPRS reading and acitivity book called Cuéntame más from TPRS Publishing Inc. I explained a bit about how TPRS works and then I taught them the first vocabulary set. What a difference it makes when “your students” really want to be there and be learning what they are learning. What a difference when you’ve chosen to be learning what you’re learning. They were asking such insightful questions. They were asking about verb forms, how to conjugate things and the origin of the words. They were so interested in getting the words just right and writing down any extra words I threw into our story. Oh my gosh! What a great experience! By the end of class, my ten students had listened and understood two mini-stories in Spanish, they read a story and completed a true/false activity ALL in Spanish. I am so grateful for this opportunity to teach a group of adults something that I can so easily and so enjoyably share with them.
I can’t wait for our next class! I learned today that the statement, “teachers are the worst students” is so not true! And the idea of getting my real students interested and engaged in the learning we are doing was definitely reinforced. It is essential.
I am going to film our classes from now on so that people can see how great our classes are and then maybe others can learn along with us if I post the videos here.