Bridging The Gap: Effectively Playing the Hand that Life Deals to You
Teacher Life (TL) teaches you valuable lessons that will empower you to discover your strengths that are currently covered up/blocked with your comfort zone, biases, cultural differences, your weakness — to name some.
I have had so many great teachers on my educational path-from elementary to the military. They have all added value to me in various ways. Their unique styles (liked/disliked) of sharing instruction challenged me to understand the best way to learn from them as they taught me. In college, I had an Information Technology (IT) Professor who expected application from us versus regurgitation. She expected us to understand and articulate how data flowed inside a computer system from the moment of a request unto the fulfillment of the desired output. She stretched my learning capacity, so that I could fully maximize her class and broaden my structural experience in information technology.
At first, I remembered feeling uncomfortable and at a disadvantage because I had to develop a new method of learning amid a very challenging course. How was I going to make this happen?
Before I continue with the story, I want to share how TL, a teacher who presents itself at the most inopportune moments, challenges my comfort zone.
Humor me for this moment-reference playing cards. After dealers shuffle the deck of cards, they deal them to each player. Then, each player while setting up their cards in their hands, they are assessing if they have a Good, So-So, and or Bad hand. At this point, the wheels are moving in their mind to determine the best way to play their cards, so they can hopefully win the hand.
In some ways, this is a metaphor for TL. It just shows up as a Good, So-So, and or Bad hand. Our job is to decide on the best course of action for this moment.
As you might imagine, TL showed up in my IT class when the professor told us that she expects us to apply what we learn. What! I thought. To me, it was a Bad Hand dealt to me as I was used to learning through discussion, some regurgitation of information, and research. Her approach was outside of my learning parameters.
I flirted with a fleeting thought of dropping the course and taking it another semester. But I remembered I had no choice as my next semesters were already filled and there wasn’t any room for another class. Especially, this one.
Making up my mind was not easy, but I did it and committed to the following strategy:
· Stopped Striving. I stopped doubting myself and enrolling in fear
· Confronted Myself. My current learning style had not been fixed up to this point. In fact, it was elastic- capable of stretching and growing. Therefore, learning to perform application methods was doable with a plan
· Took Ownership. My plan: asked questions in the class and worked with a classmate who had a stronger competence in application learning
· Expected Results. The invested hard work, via completing homework assignments, studying/practicing material content, and understanding the test reviews gave me confidence to pass the course
My decision and hard work gave me the return I needed. I finished the course with a “B” Grade and added a new learning approach to my educational capacity.
I encourage you to make room for the Teacher Leader’s lessons and strategy. They will challenge you to grow should you confront, attend, and listen to them.
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