My journey in teaching began in a Christian school in Abilene, Texas. I entered Cornerstone Christian School with a great deal of enthusiasm for all of the lessons my class would learn and totally oblivious to what I still needed to learn. It was a multi-level second- and third-grade class, with a grand total of 8 children. Four in each grade. Having never taught before, much less two classes at once, I was excited to begin this journey. I quickly realized that teaching this class would require something that was not included in the college syllabus---flexibility. With my carefully planned-out daily schedule, decorated like a professional scrapbook queen, I realized two days into the school year that the whole schedule would have to be redone. After the fourth or fifth time of recreating my masterpiece I gave up and just wrote in chalk on the board, it made it much easier to change! I came face to face with my first lesson: Be Flexible!
A school day rarely goes as planned, some days students are not ready to do algebraic equations at 8:30AM or discuss Newton’s Laws of Motion right after recess. The most important lesson that I learned was to always pay attention to your students and be flexible with your schedule so that you are able to rearrange the day to make the most of their productivity.
When a teacher tries to keep to the schedule and leaves the kids’ moods out of the equation, everyone ends up frustrated and often the lesson would have to be re-taught. Flexibility is not only helpful in class schedules but in every area of the school day. Some days the music teacher might not show up and you have your class during your usual break time. The teacher can choose to do something that the class will enjoy or something that is usually left out because you run out of time. Review another subject or catch up on a lesson the class is behind in; there is no shortage of things that can fill the time. The most important part of the lesson of flexibility is the more you stretch the easier it is to be adjustable. Over the years’ plasticity has served me well in every area of my life, as things are not always going to go as planned.
Outside of school, limberness is useful when you are dealing with your own family. Life, school, relationships are all fluid, and alive with possibilities if we are simply willing to let go of the illusion of control, we think we have and go with the flow. Enjoy the journey, complete with detours and side trips along the way. Take time to look out of the windows of the bus as the miles pass by, the destination will be waiting when your journey is complete…