One day when my son was only in first grade, he stepped off of the bus and burst out crying! His teacher had rolled her eyes at him in disapproval that morning and it broke his heart. While feeling sad for him and angry with her, I also thought that I never want to be like that teacher! The best practice in teaching is caring.
A teacher can make school be a bright moment in a student’s day, or a dreaded part of a student’s day. I’ve always wanted to make a positive difference for the students. Community college students of all ages have feelings, varying levels of sensitivity, and should be treated with respect and enthusiasm by their instructors. I strive toward this in each class.
In these 25 years, however, I’ve encountered some road bumps in my experiences that could make me grow weary. This is where Coco enters! Coco is my student, colleague, and was my teacher. She has taken four of my French classes for personal enrichment, and I have taken one of hers. I’ve learned that she has been though some trying life experiences, yet strives to grow, improve, and take care of herself while also working hard at her job at LCC! She inspires me in how she balances her personal and professional lives. But the most inspirational thing is how she supports me as a colleague, while being my student. I often thank the students for their efforts in practicing during class. I think she appreciates the respect I show my students. She thanks me for my efforts in front of our class, which I greatly appreciate. Then I will see a few heads bob in agreement, which really makes me feel good. Coco is also kind in working with any student she is paired with. I intend to inspire others the way she inspires me.
Coco probably has no idea how much she inspires me. But I know she is approximately my age, has raised children, and has a successful career teaching. She has been through a lot, yet still has the most positive, caring attitude. Coco realizes that each person has their struggles, and therefore treats each person with respect and kindness. We don’t just want to treat students “fairly” as in the community college goals. We want to treat them kindly and with enthusiasm and inspiration. Through knowing Coco, I’ve advanced my goal to trying to be a bright spot in every person’s day (not just students’). And this could make quite a difference, improving the quality of life, one person, one day at a time.
Remember, never roll your eyes!