Teaching is more than just delivering curriculum. It involves sharing life principles with the students in your classroom. Yes, when students come to your classroom, they expect you to deliver information about your subject area. They also hope that in the process you’ll share your experiences and help them connect the subject area information in practical ways to their real-time worlds.
All of your students can read theories and ideas about math, literature, and history on their own. But… all of them are hoping that you’ll go beyond that and connect tangibility to those ideas. Your life stories do just that – they put meat on bones and add flavor to bland material. Without helping them to create personal connections to curriculum, subject area material is inert. It means very little in and of itself. When they make personal connections, the material becomes real…it has meaning.
Your purpose as a teacher has to be more than just a deliveryman. Anyone can do that. An impersonal, mechanical device can do that. Your human perspective, your history, your interactions with the past and present are what help make all of the difference in the world to the people you’re responsible for in that classroom.
When you look beyond yourself and into the hearts and minds of your students, you will begin to make a positive, lasting impact that will reach far beyond the walls of your room – it will be carried forward in generations to come. The ideas, attitudes, respect, and patience will be remembered and passed on to their children, their friends, and the people they lead years from now. As a teacher, you have the ability to help your students touch the infinite, or you can simply present information in a dry and meaningless manner. Either way, it’s up to you.