At all Smith’s schools we’re able to give each student personal attention thanks to the low student-teacher ratio. Having taught at quite a few different schools it’s one of the things both I, and I’m sure my students, appreciate. The other day in a full class (3 students – 1 teacher) the lesson went extremely smoothly with everyone contributing to the conversation. People were laughing and learning which is a good combination because humor in a foreign language can be tough for non-native speakers to grasp. I was extremely proud of all of them as I could see how much they have grown since they joined Smith’s Hirakata.
At one point a student told us about… a book she was reading while the rest of us listened. She did a fabulous job and made some very valid points that I felt deserved more discussion so I asked another student to give us a recap. She struggled because she couldn’t understand all the words the other student had used and was too embarrassed to say anything. That’s when it hit me, the difference between the great students and the good ones is that great students aren’t afraid to admit when they don’t know something.
I am a native speaker of English but I do make occasional mistakes, we all do; spelling, grammatical errors, forgetting words, and misunderstanding others are just things that come with the territory. I encourage my students to speak up if I misspell a word or if they notice an error in my Soapbox articles. I am proud when I see my students do so because it’s an essential part of the learning process.
I don’t pretend to be perfect, I never will be. Rather I’m always in a state of learning; wanting to improve myself on a day by day basis. The key to life isn’t in avoiding mistakes but rather making them and then learning from them.
The lesson here is – don’t be afraid to make mistakes, speak up, voice your opinion and be proud that when you do so you’re one step closer to achieving your dream. I think Michael Jordan said it best, “I’ve failed over and over in my life and that is why I succeed.”