8 Things I’ve Learned This Year

I know I’m a teacher this year, but I am constantly trying to be a student of life. So, inspired by Emily Jasper‘s post, “Lessons I’m Learning From Being an Adviser and Teacher”, I’ve decided to share some things that I’ve learned (or learned to do better) this year working at a school and being a Jesuit Volunteer.

1). PATIENCE. To work with kids, you must be patient. Not everything goes to plan and it’s so important to realize that high school students… are high school students.

2). Trust. Great relationships don’t just happen over night. They must be built and nurtured to create a sense of trust between both parties.

3). Community isn’t easy. People have different views, expectations, passions, and habits. It’s so important to be accepting of each other and to be aware of these things. Concessions, sacrifice, and awareness are integral parts to any community and it’s something I’m constantly working on!

4). Eating vegetarian (most of the time) isn’t so bad after all. Seriously, I eat healthier in better quantities and have been able to expand my food repertoire considerably this year.

5). Teaching is hard. Holding the attention of a high schooler for 50 straight minutes is no easy task and you must be ready for anything. The teacher’s I work with are so dedicated and caring. They set the tone and are great leaders and people. I’ve learned that teaching is not for me, but that it is a job that people don’t appreciate nearly enough. This being said…

6). I love the one on one and small group interactions I have with students. It’s the highlight of my day when I tutor or get to work with students individually. I’ve also been able to create a level of trust with many of my students and hope that they get as much out of our conversations as I get from them!

7). The saddest thing in life is wasted talent, and the choices that you make will shape your life forever. – A Bronx Tale. So true. And especially true for my students.

8). Blogging is incredibly fun.

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4 Responses to 8 Things I’ve Learned This Year

  1. Emily says:

    I think it’s so awesome how we all inspire each other. A great thing about all the connecting we do. Not to miss everything else you talk about, but the vegetarian thing is the most interesting to me. I know when I lived with 16 other housemates, we all picked up each other’s eating habits. I had a roommate who had IBS, so everything was whole grains, high fiber, and low fat. Then she’d throw frosting on top of it. It might have turned out to be a healthy year if not for that last bit. But you learn so much by other’s eating habits. Like I found I love whole grain bread, and if it has the seeds, even better. I used to pick out the seeds as a kid. There are other things that I wouldn’t eat as a kid I now love…like tomatoes. Mmm, with mozzarella. Ok, now I’m hungry. Awesome that things are going well, and I know you’re making a difference! Keep it up!

    • Tom O'Keefe says:

      So true, Emily, regarding connections! I can’t tell you how glad I am that I’ve connected with you and so many other great people.

      Anyway, your points about eating habits are so true! I used to avoid beans at all costs, but now, I kind of like them (well, that and they’re one of two main sources of protein- the other is peanut butter). When I first started my year, I absolutely craved meat, but now I just enjoy it more when I *do* get to eat some. I’m also a lot more comfortable in the kitchen now and don’t mind cooking (read: I don’t have a heart attack when it’s my turn to cook).

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

  2. sportsandalatte says:

    Found your site via PRinSports…and wanted to comment on #5. I’m not a teacher, though I’ve always admired them. It is definitely one of the hardest, if not THE hardest, jobs on the planet (well next to being a parent). You guys have so much patience and are constantly re-inventing the wheel on how to get kids to actively learn…and be excited about it! Kudos to you and all of the teachers out there!

    • Tom O'Keefe says:

      You’re absolutely right. It’s a very, very challenging job. I’m not even teaching full time, but I’m always drained at the end of the day. On the other hand, teaching can be very rewarding. Seeing the “ah ha!” moments and seeing students apply what they’ve learned is such a great feeling. It’s working towards those moments that’s the tough part!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

      -Tom

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