For my job, I meet with administrators and teachers regularly. During one of my meetings with a teacher, he was excitedly sharing with me the good work that his students had accomplished recently. I was impressed not because the students pulled it off (because I knew they would), but more so because he empowers them to take the lead. When the students come up with an idea, he lets them run with it. They coordinate it from beginning to end and he is there for support and encouragement when needed. I appreciate this approach because he is letting go of control and has faith that they are capable of delivering something with success. He continued to share how one part of the event didn’t go so well. I asked his thoughts about the occurrence since he could have easily stepped in and prevented the mishap. His response was, “Let them learn. I like for them to make their own decisions and if it’s a mistake they will soon find out and will learn from it.” Simple, yet brilliant. Here is a teacher who practices excellent self-control so that he can provide his students teaching moments coupled with love and gentleness. How many of us can say we practice and apply this in our lives? I know for me, I typically want to be there for someone by preventing a potential mistake so that my friend or colleague does not have to experience anything negative. Also, unconsciously I may want to share my wisdom so that I could be the one that “called it.” I think being there for someone before or after a mistake is helpful, but this teacher’s wisdom made me wonder if I can be more like him – practice self-control before the mistake and encourage learning after the mistake – an if so, the benefits it’ll have for all the people in my life – spouse, kids, colleagues, family, and friends.
What do you think? How would you respond if you were the teacher?