Wednesday, June 8, 2011

{Teaching the Teacher | Reflections}

I wrote this a while ago, but it's all still very relevant. It's amazing how much teaching other's is teaching me, sometimes I feel like I'm learning more than the kids. It's been a really good experience for me, and is making me more excited about teaching photography. [which, by the way, I'm doing on Saturday. At 8:30am at the Stomping Grounds in Staples. Want to join us? email me!  ]

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It’s interesting how much teaching someone else can teach you.

Twice a week I teach 6 classes of swimming lessons. In 28 hours I teach for 8, and 12 classes. Sometimes it’s a really long haul, and other weeks it goes really fast (although a lot of it depends on the temperature of the pool). I’ve taught kids from the age of 3 to 17, a blind student, a downs syndrome girl and a couple of other special needs kids.

Besides the obvious, like learning to communicate clearly, and adapt to each of the kids learning styles, I’ve been taught so many things.

Finn and Ryhs taught me that I need to keep some order, and that some kids appreciate it. Devin and Kasia taught me not to work people too hard. Sam taught me that every once and a while I need to relax and talk about How to Train Your Dragon and new words, and that life isn’t all about vision.

Jake and Sara (and their mom) taught me how to deal with paranoid and nervous people, and give them strength, but push them forward at the same time. Regann has taught me that some people can be distracted from their stubbornness with a little creativity. Macy and Christopher taught me that some kids need the law laid down, and in a not so gentle way. Alicia (and quite a few of the other kids) taught me patience, and that some things just take time.

But I think, one of the biggest things I’ve learned, is to cut kids some slack. I’m not a very compassionate person, my friends and my little siblings can attest to that. My favorite saying is, “Just suck it up and deal with it.” Or to my two year old little bro, “You’re okay, be a man!”

Although it’s a truth that sometimes needs to be said, there are also a lot of times where someone needs a bit of compassion. Like little Kamryn last night, who didn’t want to put her mouth in for the ring. Yes, I know she can do it, and yes, sometimes she’s a little stubborn, but maybe she’s scared, maybe it’s hard for her. She is only three after all.

And…. It’s something God gives us. So…. It’s something we need to be able to pass on at the right times.

 “The LORD is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love” {Psalm 145:8}

“Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love” {Lamentations 3:32}

It’s been hard to find the line, the line between pushing the kids so they learn and giving them some slack and mercy. But it’s something that I want to learn, because I love these kids. And I’m not using that word lightly. I’m sad when some of them go, even the challenging ones, and I’m happy that some of them stay with me. I’m surprised, but I shouldn’t be, because I really think it’s just the love God has been showing me coming through.

So although four hours in the pool a night gets long and cold, and I’ve actually found myself staring at the clock, praying for God to get me through, He’s used this for a lot of things in my life. And for that I’m very grateful, even if I do smell like chlorine….

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