First and foremost, I am not a professional teacher. I have a great many friends who are, and I respect them and the work they do tremendously. It is not an easy career to be involved in.
I considered becoming a teacher many times over the years. It always felt like it might be a good fit. Yet I never took that path and made the choice not to go back to school for certifications or another degree.
However, I have still been a teacher. I teach medieval fencing and have done so for over 20 years. It thrills me to no end to show someone a move they didn’t know or to help them at the very beginning to understand the balance, footwork, bladework, and so forth.
In my medieval reenactment game, I also teach voice heraldry. To all intents and purposes this is acting, so I offer instruction in projection, examining the what and how of a text and the best ways to present it in public. There is also an organizational component akin to directing and stage management.
For almost eight years I have been teaching my Pathwalking philosophy, mindfulness, positivity, and conscious reality creation. Currently, I am working on expanding this beyond my articles and books, though that has not fully begun to take shape.
However, no matter what you teach, there can be a great deal of frustration when the student doesn’t get it. If you need to explain the same thing over and over and over again it can get tedious and frustrating.
What can you do to not be overwhelmed by this?
“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.”
This is an important statement for a teacher to wrap your head around, professional or otherwise. I can give all the instruction and steps I can conceive of…but the truth is that I am only opening the student to a way to think.
Mindfulness can be a two-way street. When you use mindfulness it is about being aware of your own thoughts, feelings, and actions. The reality is that you can only control those which belong to you.
Even when teaching someone a thing that you know, you cannot control their thoughts, feelings, or actions. This is part of why something I might find stupidly easy you might think is ludicrously complicated.
Writing is a perfect example. I sit at the keyboard and with relative ease can craft words into necessary tools. Stories, articles, poems, instructional texts, random topical content, or what-have-you, this comes easily to me.
You might need a more set source, and finding the words might be a chore that pains you. It might be infuriating for you to work on doing any writing of any sort. I get it, not everyone is a writer.
Mindfulness is recognizing that you will become frustrated when you teach. As such, you can work on not taking it personally, not letting it upset you, and not taking it out on a student when they just don’t get it.
Saying “this is easy” can be detrimental. Why? Just because I think this is easy doesn’t mean you can grasp it. Saying that just makes you feel bad, and that will frustrate everyone.
Mindfulness of this helps you to better understand from a neutral perspective. It also opens you up to be kinder and more empathetic.
Be kind and empathetic
It is easy, when you get frustrated, to lash out. It may not be entirely intentional, of course, but it happens. Frustration tends to build up in your chest until it makes you feel as if you might burst. So you might.
At least, that’s how I have experienced it sometimes.
This is why it’s important to be kind. Everyone learns in a different way at a different pace. Some people pick-up on concepts almost instantly. Others, however, may need far more work. Some learn by books while others learn by example, and still others learn by doing.
This is why being kind matters. It can keep you from getting frustrated by the student and the student from getting frustrated by the material and you.
Being empathetic also matters here. Not sympathetic, that doesn’t assist anyone in growing. Sympathy tends to mean sharing in the feelings of another. Empathy means you understand the feelings others are having, recognize them, and acknowledge them. You likely do not share them, and in the case of a student-teacher relationship, it helps if you don’t.
Empathy means you can temper your responses, and be more ready to handle frustration. This is due to you being more understanding.
It can be a great way to keep everyone on the same path in the same direction.
Teaching has its rewards
Yes, there can be lots of frustrations when you are working as a teacher in whatever form that may take. But you are capable of using mindfulness, kindness, empathy, and other tools to not become overwhelmed.
I appreciate teachers and the work they do. It’s an incredible thing, but I know first-hand how much you can get frustrated.
Keep doing what you are doing. The world needs more people willing to teach. Overcoming ignorance won’t happen overnight, but the willingness to teach always helps.
Every little bit counts. You can overcome the frustration you may encounter and keep going. Thanks for helping expand the knowledge base of the world around you.
You are worthy and deserving of using your mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done you matter.