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Education Opinion

Thank You Students, I’m Better Because of You

By Starr Sackstein — June 13, 2017 2 min read
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As the year winds down and the natural practice of reflection begins, it’s important to really take the time to thank those around us who have challenged us to grow.

It’s easy to thank colleagues and family, but too often we forget to thank the youngsters who put their faith and trust in us to give them what they need to learn.

Since learning is a give and take, students aren’t the only ones who gain from the classroom experience. Teachers also learn valuable live and academic lessons from their children when they take the time to notice and stay open to truly hearing the wisdom.

Full transparency here: I don’t know everything and sometimes students know more than I do in different areas.

Rather than feel threatened that I don’t know or afraid to give up control, I take the opportunity to watch, listen, and ask questions when I see something I want to know more about, much in the same way I’d hope students would ask me.

Learning is a collaborative activity when it is happening at its best. We work together using each other’s strengths to build our own challenges, developing our thinking and problem solving skills.

So the relationship we develop with our students at every age is one that is to be respected, nurtured and admired. True inspiration comes when we let our guards down and let our children in.

Over the years, I have learned more about technology (Apple software in particular like iMovie and Garage Band) by watching my students than anyone else. Kids tinker in a way that adults forget after some time and it’s important for us to reconnect with the curiosity in ourselves.

Teaching has always kept me connected to my curiosity. It has challenged me to acknowledge my short-comings and provided me countless outlets for exploring new adventures and I have so much gratitude for every child who has played a role in that experience.

Feeding off of each other’s passion and energy for different ideas and concepts keeps me reconsidering what I think I know. It offers depth and perspective that live in my blind spots. Reading and re-reading texts with students allows me the chance to see author’s words through different students’ eyes, thereby providing a richer understanding of the words to each of them in their own contexts. This is invaluable to me as a teacher.

Student learning and inspiration is by far the biggest reason I’ve returned to teaching each year. Every time I say goodbye to another group of kids, I feel saddened by the loss, but invigorated by their possibilities. Always eager to hear later how things are going, I continue to make myself available despite not seeing them everyday. Technology is great for keeping relationships current.

So take the time to reflect on your year. If you can write a hand written note to your students; they’ll appreciate it. If you can’t write a personalized hand written note, consider a class email and don’t forget to say thank you when you see them for the last time at the very least.

How do you show your gratitude to your students for what they have taught you at the end of a school year? Please share

The opinions expressed in Work in Progress are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


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