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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

following directions

Last spring, I ended up in the ER one night after having some chest pains.  They were every 10 seconds or so and just wouldn't go away.  That probably wouldn't alarm most 24 year olds, but when you never had the chance to meet or know your dad's mom because she died of a heart attack in the shower at age 52...it's something that know you need to get checked out.

I had never been in an x-ray room before, but that's beside the point.  I walked into the room for a chest x-ray.  The tech was on one side of the room and I was on the other.  The x-ray machine was facing him, and he said, "chest on the wall."  & I stood blankly at him, with my back to the wall (instead of the facing the wall, like he had asked me to do).  He said it again, "chest on the wall" and I continued to just stand there looking at him, like "let's do this"...thinking about what he had just said in my head.  Granted, it was midnight by this time...but it finally hit me and I quickly turned around so that my chest was against the wall like he had asked me to do the first time.  I was obviously super embarrassed at my ability to follow simple direction and apologized for my mindlessness.  Luckily he wasn't super annoyed and just laughed it off. 

It made me step back and realize, that as a teacher...I spend majority of my time telling kids what to do.  Rarely is someone telling me what to do.  I realized that maybe I'm not so good at following directions and it's definitely something I need to work on!  

Since then, my listening skills have improved, but I've still got room to grow. I'm just thankful that I was made aware of one of my many flaws, so that I can take the steps to move forward and fix it.  It's hard to ever fix a problem when you don't even know about it.

I always get so frustrated when my students "don't listen" or "don't follow directions" that are "right on their paper".   And oh...having to repeat myself 15 million times.  That's super annoying.  Especially when one kid asks a question, and I answer.  Then not 2 seconds later a different kid asks the same question!

Saturday, I was in class at local University all day.  I forgot how exhausting it can be to be a student for the day!  Sitting in a chair, listening to instruction and new information all.day.long. can wear you out!  Physically and mentally!  There were often times during a lab, my partner and I would do something wrong, or have to ask a certain question...when oh, if we would have just read the instructions, our question would have been answered, without having to ask the instructor.  How annoying that I did the exact same thing that I get annoyed by my students for doing on a daily basis?

So many times the things that other people do that get on our nerves, are our biggest flaws.  OUCH right?  So...if you find yourself being annoyed or put out by someone else's actions, I challenge you to step back and ask yourself if you are guilty of doing the exact same.  I obviously was.  

I now find myself giving my students a little more grace in the classroom when it comes to "following directions"--because doing that all day long can make obviously make one exhausted and completely worn out!

I still have a lot to learn as a teacher, but I'm thankful I not only get to teach, but that I also get to learn on a daily basis. 
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