Learning from My Students
In my experience, that role does not work when applied to children. I have learned that although I may be older, have more experience and have had more years of education, that does not grant me the privilege of being an intrinsically better person. The children I teach are just as important as I am. Their thoughts, feelings, fears and joys are just as worthwhile as mine. In that respect, we are all in the same boat.
When I learned this and approached the kids from a basic human level, I found we could deal with each other with mutual understanding. The role-play was gone. I am now in the fortunate position of being able to help the kids I teach to get on in life, help them function in our society and hopefully learn how to behave in a way that allows them to respect themselves.
I have one child who has had a fascination with dinosaurs for the past four years. I respect his knowledge, which honestly at this point is greater then mine. I don’t know everything, am not an expert in everything and sometimes am learning with the kids I teach. This makes for a fun exchange between us, an acknowledgment of each other and our strengths and weaknesses. Being able to relate as a fellow human – and not in a role – is what makes teaching an enjoyable and satisfying endeavor to me.