I think that for several years I have misinterpreted the look that I’ve received when I told people that I wanted to be a teacher. I always thought that the look was condescending and that the giver of the look was implying that I must lack the intellectual capacity to do anything else with my life. Now that I’m in my second year of teaching, I understand the look to be more along the lines of, “You must have an infinite amount of patience and energy, because I know that I don’t have what it takes to do what you do.”
That may sound conceited or arrogant, but I don’t mean for it to. What I’ve discovered is that teaching is an incredible humility builder, and if you can’t take being knocked down several times a day (at least 3 times, and I don’t literally mean being knocked down), it’s a hard career.
It could be that I’m too hard on myself. It may very well be that my lessons are better than I think they are, or that my students could be retaining more information than they express to me. At any rate, I spend a great amount of my day in reflection as to how to make things better- and when I say make things better, I mean make me better.
It’s humbling because there are always areas that can be improved. Even on days where the lessons go well, the students are even more well-behaved than they would be normally, I’m finding areas where I can be more dynamic and more effective to create a better learning environment.
I guess the best way to sum it up is like this: “There’s always room for improvement. It’s the biggest room in the house.”