A Better Teacher: Thanks to My Dog
The hardest times often teach us the deepest lessons. I remember the last week of my dog’s life and in that time how I wished I had been a better teacher. It had been difficult, and it’s reminded me how our lives are so inter-dependent.
Dogs are dependent on us for many things- food, shelter and affection. I was dependent on my dog in many ways too – to bark when someone was at the door, clean food off the floor, and play with my family. As he aged and needed more care, the balance changed and he needed me even more.
As I was reflecting on this, I realized that we all are dependent in different ways and at different levels. As teachers, students and their parents depend on us for a good education. We do this by taking time to plan, ensuring we are accurate, and being sensitive to every child’s learning needs. I also realized that we are dependent on our students to grow and develop our own teaching skills. As we give more, we too grow.
Depending on others for our own growth and development is not weak or wrong. Remembering this helps us be humble, and be ready to learn from every situation. Just as my dog’s dependency on me taught me so much, our students’ dependency on us helps us to be better teachers. I know that I am a better teacher today because of the students I have taught.
Some food for thought:
- In what way have your students helped you become a better teacher?
- Who has helped you best learn about yourself?
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Ellen Paxton is the Chief Learning Officer of Professional Learning Board. As a two time National Board Certified Teacher, Ellen has successfully designed and delivered research-based and standards-aligned curriculum to help teachers meet their continuing education requirements. Through ProfessionalLearningBoard.com, RenewaTeachingLicense.com, and ConnectedPD.com, Ellen has established and maintained partnerships with several accredited universities, higher education institutions, teachers’ unions and state Departments of Education while overseeing curriculum development, alignment, implementation at the classroom level and strategic direction.