They say you learn something new every day. If this is a tall order for you, and you think you go some days never learning anything, I would like to step in and give you some advice.
I am in an elementary school, serving as a student teacher to my wonderful cooperating teacher and loving students, five days a week. You would be right to assume that we spend all of our time during the school day teaching the students in our classroom something new. That is technically our job. Anybody would know that. However, what some people don’t know is that my students, my student’s parents, my cooperating teacher, the other teachers in the building, the principal, the assistant principal, the librarian, the program assistants, and the custodians have been teaching me something new every day as well.
Their teachings might be intentional and straightforward, like when my lovely cooperating teacher shows me how to use the document camera to model an activity for the class, or when a helpful staff member tells me the correct sequence of buttons to hit on the copier to make 24 homework packets.
Their teachings might be unintentional, like when a student falls asleep on their desk in the middle of an engaging lesson. This teaches you to be aware of the fact that not all students come from the same background. It teaches you to be cognizant of whether or not that sleepy student’s biggest worry in life is the lesson you are trying to teach or if it is trying to find a way to get some sleep at night in a chaotic home. When your cooperating teacher chooses to spend her lunch hour rushing to Walmart so a student can have gym shoes today instead of sitting out again, you learn that the best teachers have the biggest hearts. You learn that a teacher has two equally important jobs. The first is to love her students, and her second is to teach those students a lifelong love of learning.
So, if you find a full 24 hours have come and gone, and there is no new knowledge in your brain, I challenge you to think again. I bet at some point in your day, someone’s actions, words or gestures have taught a lesson. They aren’t all going to be as explicit and intentional as learning how to work the copier. More often than not, those daily lessons are taught abstractly through someone’s reaction to an event, or through the kindness you witness from one person to another. You really do learn something new everyday. I am lucky enough to have chosen a career path where I will learn a lot of “somethings” new everyday.