Today, my classmate came to class and expressed some back pain to my dance professor. The tone of her voice lent me to believe that it’s been a long week. Well.. I feel ya, sister. She said something along the line of “my back has been spasming, and I was just hoping you could, y’know… fix me?”
We all laughed, but I found myself pondering her words throughout the class. This statement is more understandable if you know our dance professor. Quite frankly, she’s amazing. Her pedagogy is transformative; her interactions with students are truly inspiring. Her background knowledge of body mechanics and dance therapy are astounding and wonderful in a stressful semester of college… well, any semester. I couldn’t be more grateful to be learning from her and growing as a human and a dancer this semester in her class (I could write a whole blog about that.)
As someone who is praying a lot about becoming an educator, I find myself thinking back on the great teachers of my life….
- my (favorite) second grade teacher who I later student-taught for and learned so much from about caring for young learners
- my high school science teacher who was the only one to ask me about my accident despite the fact that I wasn’t great at science and talked too much in her classes
- my high school math teacher who pushed me and challenged me every step of the way and let me know that a ‘B’ would not ruin my life (this made me a better learner, even though I stink at math… and I’m still a perfectionist, but working on it.)
- my first college professor who saw me struggling to find my fit just one month into college and told me she believed in me. She has continued to be by my side through it all… even allowing me to teach beside her for a semester.
- a professor who took a chance on me to work with her on a project that became my nerdy research pet project…a professor who later asked to “please go through my Europe photos” and have a life update in her office after a summer apart.
- my dance professor who has completely changed the way I view pedagogy and active learning, who continually shows me she cares with and without words.
All of these educators come to mind as I prepare to apply for graduate school. The lessons I have learned from those educators are what make me feel capable to teach freshmen next year.
I have found the common thread: a great educator is someone who not only cares about what I’m learning in the classroom, but someone who cares about who I am outside of the classroom.
So, today, as I round out week three of the #mytruthiestlife challenge by Lisa Hayim (@thewellnecessities) I am grateful for teachers who have opened my eyes, asked me questions, challenged me, seen potential in me when I didn’t see it in myself, allowed me to cry or laugh or smile, inspired me, and who have truly been there when the only words I could utter were “fix me.”
Educators, you rock.