These days, I find myself back in the classroom. It’s really not a surprise because it has always been a life-giving place for me. Within the brick walls, flowed currents of empowerment, knowledge, nurturing, and influence.
Oh, my experiences weren’t without rough waters. Often, I felt tossed around as I wrestled with new ideas, sought identity in a community, and learned how to navigate differences in opinion.
What influenced me the most? Teachers.
They set the tone in the environment. They created a place which had the potential to feel like a safe space for learning-beyond academics. Recently, the author of a New York Times article entitled, “Students Learn from People They Love” wrote , “a key job of a school is to give students new things to love — an exciting field of study, new friends. It reminded us that what teachers really teach is themselves — their contagious passion for their subjects and students. It reminded us that children learn from people they love, and that love in this context means willing the good of another, and offering active care for the whole person.”
My mind may not remember all the ways teachers shaped me academically but my body remembers the ways they shaped my soul.
I hold vivid memories of a teachers sharing personal stories (I can’t remember specifics but I do remember the moments of connection), taking interest in my personal well being, and life together outside the classroom. Once I attended a symphony concert with a teacher for a club and I was the only one who showed up. We still went. In junior high, my awkwardly giddy friends and I convinced our teacher to drive us to a burger restaurant for lunch-more than a few times (I was in a non traditional learning program). By today’s standards, those examples are probably greeted with surprise. Life was different then. Culture may have changed but the sacredness of connection has not.
These days I find myself back in the classroom. As a teacher (substitute) and a student. I am not earning a degree, per se, but I am being shaped. I have a passion to influence students but I also know they are influencing me.
Who influenced you?
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