They say the best way to truly appreciate something is to do it yourself. Clearly this applies to the art of teaching. Walking a couple days in a teacher’s shoes may not have given our daughters a true understanding of what it takes to teach, but it definitely helped them understand what a challenging job it is.
With our housemate, Reagan, volunteering at Destiny Academy as an English teacher, she arranged for our girls to come help her a couple days. The girls played an active role in the classes, helping to lead the first and second grade students through various games and activities aimed at improving their English skills. As with every classroom, there were times when it was difficult to get the students to settle down and listen. I think the girls had some realizations about what their teachers used to go through in their classrooms back at Normal Park Elementary in Chattanooga. At one point Emily sternly shouted, “Guys, you need to listen or you won’t know what’s going on!” and then got a slight look of surprise on her face. I think she had one of those ah-ha moments I’ve had when I hear myself saying something my own parents said to me. That oh-my-gosh-now-I-get-it kind of look.
Of course, as always, this service project wasn’t all work and no play. The girls joined in with the kids as well, playing some games in class, watching a competitive pick-up soccer game, and learning those slap-clap hand games I loved as a kid.
“I didn’t realize teaching was so hard,” Emily said after one of her days at Destiny Academy. “I’m exhausted!” The students were sweet, fun and eager to learn, but I think they taught our girls a new appreciation for those special people who enter the teaching profession.