I never imagined I would be teaching college students. I always pictured myself teaching in the K-12 system until I retired. People ask me all the time if I like teaching adults better than teaching children. It’s like comparing apples to oranges; I can’t really choose one over the other. What I do know is that I love to teach no matter what the age.
As a teacher, most of what I do is come alongside my students and become their biggest cheerleader. I show them little tricks along the way, I offer suggestions and advice, but most of the time I remind them that they can reach the finish line. I celebrate when my students understand new concepts or pass big tests; and I walk with them through the trenches as personal issues, frustration, and exhaustion take over. Every step of the way I’m encouraging, pushing, and believing that they will overcome and be successful.
There is nothing like watching a student work and push until they have nothing else to offer. They have maxed out. And finally, all their hard work pays off. I love to watch that tiny smile flicker across their face as they see the grade of their test or the final grade in the class. They stand a little bit taller and puff their chest out a little bit farther. They have beaten the odds.
What I’m realizing is that these adults are just older versions of the kids I used to teach. They are afraid of words problems in math and essays in English. There’s still that one that likes to hide in the back of the room and work alone. Then there is the one who always asks the questions that no one else has the guts to ask. It’s crazy how our bodies get older, but our personalities stay so much like our younger selves.
Whether it is an elementary student or a middle-aged adult, students needs teachers; and teachers need their students. We thrive on pouring our hearts into the lives of our pupils. We long for those moments when we can see the students rise victoriously. And when we don’t get to teach, our hearts ache for the next time we get to engage a student in a learning experience.
Thank you, God for giving me a teacher’s heart; a heart that sees the potential inside a person and the steps it will take to help them reach it. Thank you for designing me to teach. I am so grateful that my profession can be an avenue for the love and grace you daily pour into my life. I pray that I can honor you with my teaching and that my students will come to know you through the heart you have placed inside me.