Monday, August 29, 2011

Learning From Students

Today was the final event of the special summer tutoring class I taught for the interpreter training program.

The students who participated in this event showed up ready, smiling, nervous, dressed appropriately - on time. There were a few technical snafus, as there often are. But everyone kept their cool, the proctor was awesome, it went really well in spite of some significant alterations.

A few years ago I participated in a couple of mentoring and teaching-mentor trainings. I believe that we learn from the students - in being the "guide on the side" instead of the "sage on the stage." But one thing which stuck with me from one of those trainings was that we *always* learn from the students : at the very least, we learn how they need to be taught.

Today, after each student was finished with the final event, they stopped to chat for a bit. I was sitting outside of the room, assisting the proctor, troubleshooting, protecting the things which needed protecting.

And they each thanked me for teaching the summer session. For being there for them during today's event. Told me how much it helped them; how their confidence improved or their skills improved. They let off tension and laughed or cried or shared a story.

Today they reminded me why I teach and why I turned my schedule a little topsy turvy to be able to do this special tutoring class this summer. Not for the thanks. But for their insights, their questions, their progress toward becoming interpreters and their pleasure at moving closer to their goals.

Thank you.