Sharing a Kleenex with the Teachable Spirit

» Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in teachable spirit | 0 comments

Sharing a Kleenex with the Teachable Spirit

How have teachers influenced your life?
What experience with a teacher helped create a teachable spirit in you?
How do teachers change the lives of under resourced students?

Teaching the General Educational Development (GED) has provided me the privilege of meeting individuals who have experienced hardships beyond my own experience, and taught me respect for them as well as an understanding of their perspective.

The following is a short story written by one of my students while teaching at Highline Community College (HCC), showcasing her teachable spirit:

When I was in the third grade, I sat in the back of the class. There was this boy named J.R. He started sticking his pencil up his nostril, in his nose. Well, I wanted to copy him. But then, as I tried to pull the pencil back out of my nose, the eraser came off inside my nose. I panicked after that and immediately started trying to get it out, but all I did was push it farther up my nostril! I started really panicking and started crying really hard! Everyone in the class looked at me and started laughing really hard. The teacher came back to where I was sitting, but did not know what to do. She decided to take me next door to the other third grade teacher’s class to see if she could get it out of my  nose. Well, everyone in that class started laughing their heads off, too! I was so embarrassed! Finally, the eraser came out of my nose once I started blowing my nose really hard with a Kleenex. I must say, that was one of the most embarrassing and funniest things that has ever happened to me. –Ginger Doucet, HCC, 2006

Thank you, Ginger, for sharing this vulnerable moment with us. Teachers influence our lives in a multitude of ways, including assisting us in awkward situations. They have perspective beyond our years and can enlighten us on our journey through life.

What makes education the venue through which children can access a better life?

Students at Ingrid Education Centre are extremely motivated to learn, January 2013.

Students at Ingrid Education Centre are extremely motivated to learn, January 2013.

Teaching provides a learning environment for both the student and the teacher. As an instructor, I learn in the process of teaching my students the material they need to know to finish a particular course. Drawing from personal experience, the teachable spirit can disseminate information from lessons learned or from lessons taught. For example, I began teaching math for the GED 14 years ago. At that time, I did not consider myself skilled in this subject, but as I have taught it year after year, my confidence has grown where I am more comfortable teaching the subject.

One of the instructors at Ingrid Education Centre teaching her class, January 2013.

One of the instructors at Ingrid Education Centre teaching her class, January 2013.

Teaching imbues in the teacher a responsibility for the children under his/her care. I felt the onus on me to provide material that was at once engaging and provoking, even relevant to the issues faced by my students. I wanted them to connect with learning, with how they learned, and with the joy of accomplishment by providing them examples of people who had overcome their difficult circumstances to achieve the GED.

My son, Isaac Van Mechelen, taking the opportunity to teach social studies to the children of Ingrid, January 2013.

My son, Isaac Van Mechelen, taking the opportunity to teach social studies to the children of Ingrid, January 2013.

Teaching creates a bridge between the student and the teacher to draw the student to a new level. Teaching is challenging in that as a student engages with you, they are evaluating your approach to the material and to life in general. The student assimilates how to learn, how to live, and how to engage with their environment based on your example, instilling confidence in both the student and the teacher.

Teaching in an environment with only the most primitive materials is a little challenging, January 2013.

Teaching in an environment with only the most primitive materials is a little challenging at Ingrid, January 2013.

Teaching involves collaboration, nurturing students and teachers alike. Just like Ginger’s teacher took her hand and walked next door to another teacher’s classroom, perhaps neither teacher had the answer, but working together creates the opportunity for the answer to emerge through mutual care and concern. The teachable spirit of the instructors in under resourced classrooms is open to the answers to unsolved issues faced by their students.

The teachers of Ingrid were very receptive, February 2013.

The teachers of Ingrid were very receptive to what I shared with them, February 2013.

Providing the opportunity for teachers in under resourced environments to engage with the teachable spirit is my sincerest desire and purpose for returning to Kenya. My experience working with the instructors of Ingrid Education Centre in February 2013 helping them gain insights and a fresh view of their work affected both of us; I witnessed them visibly encouraged and uplifted in their perspective, providing compelling incentive to return.

In January 2015, I will be providing professional development to them again, but at a new venue–the Kimana School of Leadership and Professional Studies, which will open up the opportunity to the citizens of the Kimana Rift Valley. I am looking forward to providing a learning environment that creates a bridge between us, nurturing collaboration and the teachable spirit. Sharing a kleenex will mostly likely be part of this experience.

Douglas is the founder of Ingrid Education Centre, and is very welcoming, January 2013.

Douglas is the founder of Ingrid Education Centre, and is very welcoming, January 2013.

Supporting under resourced teachers is a valuable investment of your money because each teacher impacts the lives of 20-30 children every day. Support them today by:

  • passing this information to your friends via my blog
  • purchasing one of my audios on my website
  • supporting me financially
  • contributing to Dreamweaver International

Contact Dr. Warren Bruhl via email: dr.bruhl@dreamweaver911.org or other members of  the Board through Dreamweaver International to support Kimana School or Leadership and Professional StudiesContact Douglas Monene, founder of Ingrid Education Centre via email: douglasmonene@gmail.com to learn how to sponsor one of the children who attend Ingrid

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