The Best Life Lessons You Can Teach Your Students
Hi teacher friends!
Let’s take a step back and look at the big picture of what we are teaching our students. We spend so much time in the classroom, preparing materials, planning activities, and covering standards – but are there lessons that we could teach our students that could impact all lessons? It is a tall order but consider it for a moment. What if a simple statement left an enormous impact on just a few of your students? Even if it didn’t reach everyone, wouldn’t you still share it?
In my opinion, these are life lessons that are essential for students to just consider for a moment. Some of these I wish I had known as a young student, I may have heard a few of them as a child, but really didn’t take the time to step back and consider.
1. The best inventors, philosophers, artists, great thinkers ALL MADE MISTAKES. MANY MANY MISTAKES. Nothing worth learning is easy. It is okay to make mistakes. In fact, it’s great because you’ll learn along the way. If you got everything perfect the first time around, it wouldn’t be as memorable. Do not feel shame in the classroom when you answer incorrectly. You tried, and that is greater than not trying. The journey to discovery makes you appreciate what you’ve learned so much more.
2. Take ownership of your own learning. No one can do the real work for you. It is so incredibly satisfying when your hard work pays off and you discover you can grow and overcome challenges.
3. Be kind, courteous, and respectful. Did you know being nice actually boosts serotonin levels and changes the brain? Check out this study on Psychology today - https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-gift-adhd/201108/being-nice-can-change-your-brain
Attitude is everything. It has an impact on your mood, your interactions with others, and especially your health. Life is much too short to restrict yourself to only negative thinking.
4. Find the joy in learning because it never stops. Many students have the misconception that the learning stops once they leave the classroom. As adults, we know it’s simply not true. Even when we finish our college degrees, we still learn every single day after the program. Once a student is “done”, they will enter the field in which they studied. They will work alongside colleagues from whom they will learn. In order to advance in their careers, they must continue learning because the world is always changing. This concept might seem overwhelming to your students, but explain that it is important to grow, evolve, and change. There is a reason for the phrase “old and wise”. You will not be the same person in your 20’s and in your 60’s. (Hopefully not!)
5. Do what you love – find your passion and never look back. It will take time to find your passion and it might end up changing along the way (and that’s okay)! But whatever you like to do today, do it. If it brings you joy, embrace it. Even if you are terrible at it, if it makes you happy, who cares! (you won’t!) You’ll get better over time. If you do not find true joy in it, it’s probably not for you. Try something new. Be inspired and let inspiration take you wherever it wants to go. One of my favorite quotes from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic – “Your own reasons to make art are reason enough. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.”
These concepts are not teaching a specific math skill nor are they aligned with the Common Core. They may however, influence the way your students think about thinking, an impact what is known as “metacognition”. They might be too young to appreciate the life lessons now but if they hear them enough, they may practice them later on.