Greater New York Academy of Seventh-day Adventists

School News

Deborah Nicoleau
English and
Social Studies

What My Students Have Taught Me

Published: June 01, 2005

Over the past six years as a teacher I have tried to educate my students "to be thinkers and not mere reflectors of other men's thoughts."-MIND, CHARACTER, AND PERSONALITY, vol. 1, p. 361. Although this was my goal, I couldn't help but reflect upon the lessons my students have taught me. Of the things I've learned, the most prevalent lessons taught to me were patience, forgiveness, and humor.

Patience is a trait that one can sometimes lose in the classroom. Students occasionally becoming disruptive, loud, and disrespectful can try any teachers' patience. I have learned to assess the situation as to why the student is acting out. Many times the root of the problem is one that exists beyond the classroom which requires counseling and prayer.

Forgiveness is something that I thought was not a problem for me. There was an incident that occurred when I caught a student cheating on an exam. I gave the student a zero for the test and assured her I had not changed my opinion of her. A year later I had this same student in my class and wrongly accused her of being dishonest. I sadly learned that true forgiveness also requires one to forget.

Humor is something I have always had, but my students have taught me to laugh at myself. Teachers tend to place themselves in the position as the person that must have all the answers. I remember once that a student corrected me. The error I made was so obvious it was comical. The entire class was roaring with laughter. I could only laugh at myself.

Regardless of the lessons my students and I have taught each other, I must always remember that my ultimate goal as a teacher is to help form my students' characters for heaven. This is my highest calling!