An Ode to Love: Educating Our Needs

Svieta 4My Preschool Student’s Picasso

Hundreds of years ago women were not allowed to get an education simply because many believed that women were home makers who would perhaps suddenly become infertile for using up their brains.  50 years ago black people were not allowed to socialize with white people because this was our norm, we didn’t want competition.  This is how our societies functioned back then; however, I often wonder what we are doing at this moment that might be looked at hundreds of years from today and simply stated, “I cannot believe that in 2014 they did that… they educated people that way.”  I cannot help but question what are we missing, as educators, what can we improve on when teaching our children to succeed?

Currently I work as a Preschool teacher, I have worked with different age groups, but preschool is perhaps the most challenging age group for me to work with.  This is when children begin to learn about using their words in order to communicate their needs, as well as, how not to use their bodies to express their frustrations.  I love working with kids; however, the hardest part of my job is the challenges that many children come in with. There is a range of issues families are faced with, and it is the teacher’s responsibility to nurture and guide those children towards the right path.  I am humbled by the responsibility, but I am constantly worried whether my approach in handling conflict is the best approach for that child. In my field of work, I have no room to mess up therefore I often feel extremely troubled.

Many days I come home from work so frustrated, but I begin to ask myself: Why am I doing this?  After some much needed reflection time, I remind myself that teaching children is my way of giving back to the world.  I know that it might sound cliché, but teaching others is what challenges me and in some spiritual way it humbles me. Every day I learn something new about myself and although it often frightens me, it also excites me to learn and to grow as an individual.

The other day I had an epiphany; I realized that many times I ask these little children to do the exact same things that even I do not practice.  For example, little Bobby brought his favorite toy to school last Friday for show and tell, suddenly his friend ripped away his toy and demanded that he gets a chance to play with it.  As a teacher one of the primary duties is to mediate between children.  I needed to explain to Bobby that he doesn’t need to share his toy if he doesn’t want to, but it would be really nice if he did decide to share.  I also explained to Johnny, the other child, why ripping away Bobby’s toy was mean and not the best way to get what he desires.

I realize that this is a silly example, but it is the perfect one to get my point across. We often want what we can’t have, it’s in our nature.  Where there is a stop sign, we often just keep going.  Where there is “Do not enter” sign, we still decide to enter. Just like both Bobby and Johnny at my daycare, we want what we want and we do not care about the rules because our personal needs come first.  But what if we actually decided to slow down and simply pay attention.  What if that stop sign was there not just to protect us from a car accident, but to remind us that something better awaits us if we follow the rules; this concept may apply to any personal desire.

 

We are all students and teachers in one form or another.  We often teach others things that we have a difficult time doing ourselves, perhaps because it is easier to talk the talk, than walk the walk.  What if a hundred years from today we will get it right; maybe some brilliant teacher will begin to teach the world how to understand right from wrong?  I am 28 years of age and I still can’t seem to learn the difference between the two, and just maybe we can learn to want what we need and let go of what is not designed for us in the first place.

Author: Svieta Ishchenko

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