I was thinking just the other day about how much I’ve learned about myself just in this school year alone. The challenges that come along with being a teacher are at times no match for the incredible sense of accomplishment you feel knowing you’re making a difference in someone’s life. I’ve always known that I wanted to be the kind of teacher that left an impact. I wanted to be the teacher that taught kids to be kind, respectful, and responsible. However, in all of my efforts to teach, I’ve found that I am actually the one being taught (at times about things I don’t care to learn from my Sixth graders, lol.) Nonetheless, I can honestly say that I’m better today for having became a teacher. Here’s a list of the top 5 things that teaching helped me discover about myself- maybe my teacher friends can relate.
1. I know how to save money. I’m sure this will be a gift to my husband someday. (HA!) Many know that a teacher’s budget is minimal, at best. We use what we have and get creative with what we don’t have. I’ve seen this across the spectrum of teachers. I’m not afraid to shop a sale and use a discount!
2. I am an encourager. Because I’m a teacher, I see the value in encouragement. A little, “You can do it!” or “You’re awesome, kiddo!” really do go a long way! In my personal life, I’ve vowed to let the lessons I’ve learned about encouragement in the classroom spill over into the relationships I have outside of school. This simple gesture makes such a difference!
3. There really is a wealth of patience
somewhere inside of me. This very truth alone is what turns many people off to becoming a classroom teacher. I hear it all the time (especially about teaching middle schoolers)- “I just don’t have the patience for that.” While that may be true, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that teaching taught me to be patient. If I’ve given kids directions once I’ve given them a hundred times. Most often these days, my patience is tested when kids act like they just don’t care….(Who would’ve ever thought middle schoolers would act like that…lol. Can you sense the sarcasm in this?) There are many days when prayer would have to take the place of my patience. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned its that prayer and patience go hand in hand. I’m more patient because I teach.
4. I have a strong intuition. I’ve been known to tell my kids (like many teachers do, I’m sure) that I have eyes in the back of my head. At times I think my Sixth graders still believe it! It seems kind of funny to most, unless you’re a fellow teacher or a parent, but I get to know the kids I teach so well that I can sense when they’ve been running down the hallway (when they were supposed to be WALKING), when they’re lying to me, or when they’ve been passing notes in class (in their own secretive ways…). Teachers somehow develop a keen sense of sight, sound, and smell. Some of the most hilarious moments in my classroom have happened because I called a kid out for doing something they had no idea I knew about! Hey, you’ve got to keep things interesting, right?
5. I LOVE to laugh. I’ve known for a while that the man I marry someday will have to have a good sense of humor. I learned this about myself in the classroom. Some of the funniest moments in my life have taken place inside room 117 with 22 of the most comical sixth graders I’ve ever met. We laugh (out loud at times) at our jokes, our mistakes, our own silly ways and there’s such a warmth that fills that room when we erupt in laughter. Whether it’s a chuckle or a full-blown belly laugh, I’ll never again underestimate the power of laughter in my life.
I’m thankful that I chose to walk this path when there were many other choices that could have taken me in different directions in life. God has a way of revealing things to us about ourselves to help us become who He wants us to be. I can’t say that the lessons I’ve learned as a teacher would be the same if I’d chosen another career path. I know that what I’ve discovered in this chapter of my life will go with me in the next chapter and I’ll be able to more fully understand who I am in Him. I’m thankful for these little truths that show up in the most surprising ways!