Lessons My Teachers Taught Me

Posted by Sydney Myers

June 13th, 2017

As an educator, your goal is to teach your students more than Math, History, or whatever your subject focus happens to be. You understand your unique opportunity to teach your students important lessons about life. You no doubt take that responsibility seriously.

I can assure you that you do have an impact on your students, whether they want to admit it or not. I already shared some lessons I learned in band, but, honestly, my entire school experience taught me many crucial lessons.

1. Hard work pays off

Yes, I know it’s cliche, but it’s a common saying for a reason – because it’s true.

School can be challenging. It takes hard work to be successful – a common theme in life. However, your hard work isn’t for nothing. Whether the reward is a unique opportunity, a special privilege, new skills, or just some good ol’ fashioned recognition, earnest effort is a universal skill worth developing.

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2. Professional skills

Beyond vocational skills like accounting, web development, or nursing, school taught me professional skills that apply to any job.

In school, you tend to buck against “The Man” and the rules that are enforced. A dress code, bell schedules, assignment due dates, behavior policies, and other bothersome rules are tolerated and followed begrudgingly.

What you may not realize is that professionalism, following directions, and time management are vital skills if you’re to have any success in your career. It’s a lesson that’s better learned sooner rather than later.

3. How to communicate

I am naturally a shy person. I grew up talking quietly, if at all. Many teachers tried to get me to speak up and to speak more clearly.

In the sixth grade, one of my teachers gave a weekly speech assignment. Every student had to stand in front of the class, read a current news article, and give a report on it. She would grade us on our presentation. Every week she critiqued me on my mumbling.

Every.

Single.

Week.

As much as I hated those reports, I eventually learned to speak up and to speak clearly. This lesson was repeated through high school speech and theater classes. I am still shy, but now I am a more capable communicator.

4. Do your best, no matter what

Good teachers quickly recognize what you’re capable of. Great teachers hold you to it.

I had a tendency to rush through assignments or not do my best on a project. I knew I could do better, but I just didn’t see the point.

That wasn’t going to fly with most teachers. Through the course of my 13 years in school, as each teacher pushed me to do what they knew I was capable of doing, I slowly learned that doing your best is not optional. Always giving your best is what successful people do.

Yes, it was frustrating sometimes, but it was a lesson I had to learn.

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5. Who I am

School afforded me the opportunity to try tons of new things – music, art, singing, dancing, acting, web design, graphic design, writing, carpentry, sports, public speaking (not something I’m good at, as we already found out), cooking, sewing, and so much more. All those classes can seem burdensome, but sometimes they teach you more about yourself than the task at hand.

I learned that I like music, sports, and technology. The entire school experience taught me that I’m a good problem-solver and that I’m cynical and have a dry sense of humor. I learned what I’m good at and what I’m not good at. All of these traits and attributes make up who I am.

People always want to go “find themselves”. Well, there’s nothing to find. You’re right here. You just have to learn who you are. School is an excellent opportunity to do that.

 

 

Posted in: School, Teaching

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