I suppose that all teachers aspire to allow themselves the occasional growth spurt every now and again. I felt incredibly proud to be a witness of such a ‘spurt’ one evening this week.
Educating can easily catapult into this process of tirelessly pouring out of oneself and getting very little in return. However, the key to allowing yourself to step into this process of educating where you discover that teaching also has the power to unlock certain magical moments where the input = the output, is to allow oneself the pleasure to also TAKE from the ones being educated. Yes! You read correctly … allow yourself to also be the receiver and not only the giver. You can actually master this process. Let me try to explain.
I have (in the past) been a victim of complaining about this soul-draining profession for some years. Feeling exhausted and incomplete after a day’s work. I suppose I am not the only one out there? Somebody give me an AMEN SISTA! I know that for the transformation to happen, you have to be willing to allow yourself to struggle through the frustration and experience, the pain of losing yourself in a profession that takes and takes and takes before you can stick your neck out and realise that you are the master of your own growth and that this process of sharing information is in an actual way a two way street … it totally depends on where you are, and how you perceive this highway of educating!
Right. So to get back to the formula. The turn of the key. The opening of the door. The equation that leads to success.
I witness fellow educators in our education centre on a daily basis. Their interaction, their souls, their love for a respective subject and also their fears, their glasses half empty and their hourly struggles to keep the boat a float. This blog is not about those moments. It is about an extraordinary moment where one of our teachers faced a fear and turned it into a scientific (quite literally) formula that produced extraordinary results! The result being an authentic smile, a tap on the back and feelings of accomplishment!
So one of our educators exclaimed that she had the opportunity to face a fear in one of her Science sessions, but instead of running away from the educational process of sharing the information and transforming it into knowledge, she shared the information, with hesitation, self-doubt and angst. In her own words … hating the explanation of particular field in Science and almost always refusing to tackle this issue head-on due to her own feelings of doubt, but then she decided NO, not today, today she will face her fears and she did exactly that. In a brave way … she struggled through the hogwash of her own fears and managed the process of explaining a concept to the learners, a concept she thought she could never explain effortlessly or with great success. Immediately she recognised the transformation in herself. Yes, she recognised her growth … and it was so magnificent that she even shared it with all of us. Eyes beaming with pride and accomplishment and feelings of relief. A proud moment witnessed. Success.
She truly inspired me to realise that even in those moments of I will try again tomorrow, she turned the tomorrow into today. I promised her a blog, to write about this. Her own words: “I will change the world, one learner at a time” reminded me of my early days in education, standing in front of five hundred first-years, quite optimistic about my new educational endeavour, and with high hopes for each student. (But also very young, naive and inexperienced at the time) After class, I crawled back to my bachelors flat in Linden, ears to the ground, crying myself to sleep. They ate me for breakfast. Literally. All I wanted to do was to deposit my skills and knowledge and experience to a group of first year media students. I wanted to share. I wanted to inspire. I wanted to bring hope. I could barely keep the class under control. They were not interested in me. Not at all. So I had to go back to the drawing board, change my attitude, dig deep and if I remember correctly, I even changed my dress code. Day two. Still five hundred first-years, still the shaking and trembling in my voice. I knew I had to win only two students. They ruled the classroom. I sent a quick glare towards them, walked over and stood right next to them, and then smiled. The bravest, biggest, whitest smile you have ever seen. They both looked up at me in disbelief. I said RIGHT! Let’s go. Still smiling. Still standing my ground. Still facing my two challengers. I asked them questions, I challenged back. I conquered. Today, I follow these students on Instagram. Very successful, high flying media experts in big corporate companies in Sandton. I am proud. Not of me, but of them. Of who they have become. I might have only influenced two students in a class of five hundred. But the challenge was to change myself. To dig deep and to find a way to connect. And that my friends, is the essence of teaching. Connection. Without it, teaching is futile. And to be quite honest. You have to be able to connect with yourself first. Thank you to Charlotte for the inspiration to write this post. I like your style. It adds up!
So for today, my challenge and personal motto is: “BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE IN THE WORLD” Ghandi
I am off to help facilitate parenting with Love & Logic (I will write about this soon)
Have a fabulous Friday!