10 Life Lessons From My Students
Even if you teach younger children, they can still dispense a fair amount of wisdom, (albeit a little humorous at times), about life. Whether it’s something they say or the way they act.
Teaching ESL can teach you a lot of things and sometimes it is important to listen to the wisdom of your students and take it on board, here are ten things my students have taught me about life.
1. Set Boundaries
Everybody has their breaking point. It’s important to know what your breaking point is and even more important to ensure you don’t cross it. This can relate to your work, your play, and even your relationships. My students may bicker with each other or complain about homework, but they know when enough is enough. Tell someone ‘no’ or ‘stop’ when they are crossing the line!
My students may bicker with each other or complain about homework, but they know when enough is enough. Tell someone ‘no’ or ‘stop’ when they are crossing the line!
2. When People Say Bad Things About You
My life wouldn’t be complete without my second-grade student saying, “Teacher, you know when someone says something bad about you it means they are.” What this translates to loosely in English is the old adage, “I’m rubber and you’re glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.” If someone says something nasty about you, they are probably not comfortable with themselves.
If someone says something nasty about you, they are probably not comfortable with themselves.
3. Losing is OK
Life is going to have its failures and losses. Again, my life wouldn’t be complete without my second-grade student echoing, “It’s oooook!” When we lose or fail it means we tried, and sometimes it’s even more fun to try and to fail!
It definitely takes the pressure off when you think everything is just practice. There is no way you can win all the time! In the meantime, learn from your losses!
4. Learning Something Takes Tons of Time and Repetition
Learning something is so daunting! Especially a new language! Losing and failing is definitely ok, and you will fail a lot when learning something new. It takes so much time, patience, and repetition to get it right!
My coach once told me to practice a complicated lifting technique one-thousand times to get it right– he was absolutely correct! Those thousand times are split into days, months, or even years but anything worth doing right is worth the time!
‘Teacher yells, students yell’– it’s definitely true! Students and children learn by mimicry. If you are having a bad day chances are your students will pick up on it and nobody will be having a good day.
If you yell at your students or raise your voice, your students will also be raising their voices in no time. It’s important to be positive around your students always, even if you have to act! Acting positively in many situations will reflect positivity to you as well!
6. Give Yourself a Break
It’s vital to give yourself a break– whether it be a break from studying, a break from practice, or a break from receiving bad news. Time and dedication make all things possible– and we have both!
There is no way you can cram excellence into yourself right away, give yourself a break from practicing every now and then or a break if you didn’t get something right at that moment. “It’s oook!”
7. Children Have Amazing Leadership Skills
Give your students the chance to be leaders, the chance to be free thinkers, and the chance to learn how to govern themselves. They will shine at the opportunity! Give your students small jobs so they can learn how to be responsible on their own– they will always make things better if you let them.
8. Share Your Food
It seems like a tradition in Taiwan for kids to give food to each other over breaktime. They will even break off pieces for you! It’s a simple gesture but it nourishes friendships as well as tummies.
It’s a great way to get to know people– everybody likes food! Be sure to share your belongings with those around you; whether it be food, a talent, or a story. It will be appreciated!
9. Everyone Has a Little Kid Inside
Yes, even you! Let it out sometimes! It’s great to be serious when the situation calls for it, but letting loose and getting the kids singing and dancing is good for both of you sometimes!
Seeing things through their eyes gives you more insight into the way they behave, too. It reminds you to not take yourself so seriously, not to take things for granted, and let loose to let things in!
10. Look the Direction You Walk
I came to this city of over a million people from a city with less than 100,000 even. There was a thing about personal space where I came from– we had so much space it was normal to leave a lot of room between people, especially when walking on sidewalk.
Here, not so much! People wander everywhere, sidewalks can be the worst! There are people who will walk really slow right in the middle, groups of people that will block entire entryways, and people who might run into you from time to time.
The most important lesson I’ve learned here is to look the direction you are walking. People will see where you are heading and heed. This can go for your life direction as well– always be looking the direction you are going.
Are you an ESL teacher? Have you learnt any unexpected lessons from your students? Let us know in the comments section below.
Michaela left her small town in the flat cornfields of Iowa in April of 2015 to explore the world before becoming condemned to a desk in an IT corporation. She has been teaching at Hess International English school in Taipei,Taiwan and shopping, hiking, and eating her way through the foreign streets. She has traveled alone and encountered many interesting experiences and hopes to aid others traveling alone as well.