I had an epiphany of sorts yesterday in class. I know the epiphanies should come for the students, through my wise ever so sage educating, but alas - it was yesterday that I got schooled a bit.
We were talking about interviews and I'm running around the class pointing at people saying - "tell me your greatest strength!" and one girl timidly answers "I'm a potential leader."
I stop, dead still right where I am and turn to her desk - I place my hands on the corners of it and say "potential? POTENTIAL!? NO! You ARE a leader!!" And I tell her, look at yourself - look at you, going to school full-time, working full-time - starting a life all by yourself in this city. You ARE a leader, I tell her. (I'm practically sermonizing at this point.) Never be ashamed at what you are, what you're good at! Never under estimate yourself. And then we go around the room to each student and everyone stands up and announces their greatest attribute. With pride.
It was one of those moments. Those moments that happen totally unplanned when I'm teaching where I feel I've made the connection. I've found something they need and am offering it up, and best! - they're taking it. The whole feeling of the room changed in those minutes. They each stood up and after a second or two, found that something to be proud of. Sure, I helped a bit at first . . . I coaxed and prodded. But I felt like, when we were done, they were all sitting a bit straighter. A bit taller.
And, really, when it comes right down to it - it's those moments I show up for. It's what I love about teaching, it's what I don't mind about getting up at 7am on Saturday and Sunday mornings for.
But it's easy to do it for them. To cheer them on, to raise them up. It's second nature to look at them and see so much hope and potential and accomplishment. Not on the horizon, but here: now.
I just can't seem to do that for myself. I cannot stand up and say - "I am good at what I do." And feel the confidence I was demanding my students show this weekend. Not all the time. I've been faltering lately, on all fronts. And it's disappointing. To me, and those that surround me, I'm sure.
But I'm going to practice this week. I'm going to be proud of who I am and take credit for all I've done. Because I did do it. What lies behind me *is* from *my* hard work. And what lies ahead will never be what I want it to be until I CAN stand up and shout, "I'M SO GOOD!" And maybe start believing it to the point where it isn't so easy to make me sit back down.
6 years ago