Teaching and Listening

One of the perks of being a teacher is being around kids.  They are instant sources of joy and reminders of what it means to be young and carefree.  Every day with my students is an adventure. Each experience is something new.  At times though, it can be quite exhausting and draining.

Exchanging stories with kids is quite fun and amusing.  They have the most amazing tales and they give their opinions with an ounce of certainty that makes it all authentic.  It’s a good thing if the stories they share are all about the fun times. I can definitley live with that.  It’s another thing when you hear about their worries.  What’s worse is when you see the sadness filling their eyes and there seems to be nothing you can do about it.

Oftentimes, they have that air of authority about them when they tell you how they feel and the like.  You fight the temptation to tell them it will all be better.  After all, all you really need to do is listen because it is most likely that anything you say won’t change the way they feel.  I can’t even count the times students have told me that I don’t understand what they’re going through.  I have to bite my tongue when they tell me how sad or miserable they are.  Once, I had to literally get out of the room to take a deep breath and then come back with a huge smile on my face.  It’s impossible not to feel bad when your kids feel bad, but you have to show them that you are ready to listen and ready to help.

The thing is, I’d rather have my students share their problems than keep it to themselves. I feel helpless when a student refuses to open up.  All I can do is smile at them and tell them I’m always ready to lend a helping hand. If that doesn’t help, I don’t know what can.

In the end, my ultimate problem is letting go and letting my students find their own way around their issues.  As a teacher, I can’t dictate. I can only help them figure out the solutions for themselves.  This is the hardest part. Sometimes, you just want to tell to them what to do. But, what good will that do? I don’t know any better.

That being said, being a teacher does have many perks. One of them is the opportunity to listen to students and help them manuever their way through life.  Along the way, you get to learn from them as well.

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