Two-way street: What I learned from my students

    I wonder if students ever recognize the impact they have on teachers' lives?

    As reflective practitioners, we as educators review our yearlong lessons and assess the effectiveness of our instruction. We decide whether we met our objectives. We create new ways to assess student achievement. We adjust the techniques and methods we use to deliver our curriculum. But, how often do educators take time to reflect on the effects that our students had on us? Teachers are expected to mold and shape the youth of America. However, how often do we give kids credit for making us the teachers and people we are today?

    Touching the lives of students is a two-way street. I wonder if students ever recognize the impact they have on teachers' lives? I have the good fortune to interact with a wide range of talented, bright and creative individuals in the Neshaminy School District. I have taken the most pride, not in the lessons I taught in the classroom, but in the lessons my students have taught me about life. Here is a snapshot of the incredible cornucopia of young adults who have touched my life.

    A lazy boy taught me to "simmer down" and relax, while a shy girl showed me how to stand up for myself. The delinquent demonstrated to me that I should learn from my mistakes, and a poet taught me many different ways to express love. An athlete taught me the importance of good sportsmanship, as the class clown said it was okay to cry sometimes. The journalist reminded me to read between the lines, while the popular girl taught me the difference between being alone and being lonely. A nerdy girl let me know that I didn't have to be "cool" to be accepted, and a depressed boy shined light on the meaning of true happiness. A smart kid told me that hard work does pay off, as a bully showed me compassion.

    These lessons are not exclusive to those in the field of education. There are opportunities for every person in the community to celebrate the unique traits of our youth. Just look around. That poet is your son. The athlete is your daughter. The lazy boy just mowed your lawn today, and the bully helped you with your groceries.

    Kids today-now aren't they something special?

    Tara Gould (Huber)

    June 16, 2002