When you plant a seed, it may take a while to sprout

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Only a couple of weeks remain in the semester. At this point everyone is ready to be done. Even when you have the best class, it still feels good knowing it will end and you can move on to a new thing.

Teaching is often frustrating because you don’t know if students are getting it, or if they even care. The latter is the worst — to look out at their faces and wonder if they even care about your time, what you’re trying to teach them, or if they even care about school in general.

I’m trying to be more zen when dealing with frustration. I was commiserating with a colleague last week — she said she actually had to leave her classroom out of frustration to compose herself. I hear you, I said.

In trying to buoy her spirits, I told her to think of herself as planting seeds. At the moment, the students may not care. They may not want to listen. But you have planted the idea. You’ve explained why writing is important and the rules they have to follow in order to communicate effectively.

This became a pep talk for myself, too, because I was feeling the same way about one of my classes. I felt a lot better when I realized they MAY NOT get what I’m trying to teach them by the end of the semester. Maybe it will click next semester, or five or 10 years from now. All I can do is plant the seed and hope that it roots at some point, though I may not be there to witness the growth.

I also have more compassion for them when I realized I was the same way. My undergrad days were long ago, but I remember feeling a little mystified by media writing style. I’m sure it took me a couple of classes to “get it,” and maybe in that first semester things didn’t quite click.

I know I approached Ashtanga yoga this way. For years and years and years, it was just a physical practice for me, one I could take or leave. But when I was ready to see it for what it was worth, the seed was there. I had done all the prep work (without even knowing it).

Is there something in your life that you didn’t get at first? Something you didn’t realize what it was until much later?