Friday, February 18, 2011

Teaching - The Other Talent

I finished my first full week at my job - finally.  For the first time since working with kids, I felt like I was in my element.  Everyone has gifts and talents.  Some of them you like when you're growing up, and others you despise.  Teaching was like that for me.

Spending time with kids used to be incredibly tedious. Teaching in general felt like a chore. In my early experience teaching, I was really too young, too impatient, too self-absorbed to enjoy watching students' faces when they are grasping a concept for the first time.  Now that I'm older and at least slightly wiser, the antics of each developmental phase provide ample entertainment and enjoyment, mostly because it reminds me of how I used to be and I know how great it feels when you understand something.

Maybe its just because I look at each child and see myself. Maybe they are channeling a single aspect, maybe a whole era of my life, but still I see my face. Because I see myself in each child, I can be that much more patient.  I can see how shy they are, their insecurities, their fears, and the issues they might have at home.  I can see the dynamics that play out with their peers.

At the same time it's like watching a litter of kittens or puppies trying to figure out their way, how to be with one another and how to be in the world itself.  It's adorable, and heartbreaking, and awe-inspiring all at once.  Sometimes they pee in your shoes, or scratch your curtains to shreds, or unroll your toilet paper so that it covers the floor for the entire length of the hallway.  Sure, they might piss you off.  Still, they have to do these things.  You did it too when you were growing up.  This is the way we learn - through our curiousity, trial, and error.

The question I keep asking myself now is, what do I do about this new found interest in a talent I used to find more tedious than enjoyable? How do I use it? How do I hone it? Should I? All I know is, I think I like older kids.  They never know how to act when you have them do an ice-breaker or a team-builder game at the beginning of class. They might try to act cool, but underneath the act, they are channeling their own eccentricities that are just begging to be unleashed on to the world.  Helping them to do that sounds pretty cool to me.

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