“[Kids] don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”
― Jim Henson, It’s Not Easy Being Green: And Other Things to Consider
My favourite teacher growing up was my Grade 11 English teacher. On our first day, he told us that by applying his base knowledge of the English language he was able to climb the ranks of a corporate ladder to the point where he could have toppled Canada’s economic system. I’m not sure how much credence there is to that, but he then went on to tell us he’d rather teach young students how the English language works, and explore the fine arts of novels, Shakespeare, and other literature we’d explore together. He’d rather learn something new every time he reread a story because someone would always say something he had never thought of. His passion for teaching was infectious. I might not be able to tell you the finer points of Macbeth or The Old Man and the Sea anymore, but I could tell you that my Grade 11 English teacher made me originally set on the path towards writing, and later journalism, to now teaching.
When teaching my students, I approach it with this same mindset. Interacting with my students, getting to know them, exploring concepts and ideas with them, and letting them get to know me, is instrumental to my teaching craft. This relationship of teacher and student is more than just the giving of knowledge, it is the building of these students into the people they are going to be. It is an opportunity to help craft the workers, artists, thinkers of tomorrow. The chance to make our society better for them. By putting these students first, by making sure they are the ones in charge of their learning and leaders in their worlds, they are free to take charge of their lives and build the world they want to live in.