Patience and Understanding
I haven’t always been the most patient and understanding teacher. Students know me for my passion for math and teaching, but early in my career I was probably equally known for my rigidity about things like punctuality. It was well-intentioned, as manifestations of high expectations often are, but it was also informed by a teacher’s desire to keep things under control.
I’m probably as well known now for being flexible as I was early on about being rigid. Age and experience have made me much more patient and understanding as a teacher. And having children of my own has certainly accelerated my acceptance that there are things I simply have to adapt to.
This change has helped prepare me for teaching during the pandemic. With so much out of our control, we all have to approach what we do with tremendous patience and understanding for each other. I’ve been doing my best, but this week it was my students who led the way.
Now that we are once again fully remote, I’m working from home and facing yet another round of fresh challenges. An over-extended wifi has made videoconferencing a crapshoot: I was kicked out of my class several times this week, which meant interruptions in instruction and extra work for us all.
Despite my struggles, students have continued to make things easy for me. They’ve waited around for me to log back in to class; they’ve watched the impromptu videos I’ve made to replace the missing instruction; they’ve completed the asynchronous assignments meant to make up for the lost time. They have been incredibly patient and understanding with me. I’d like to think they’ve been following my example, but in thinking back on it, it’s more likely that I’ve been following theirs all along.