Michelle Pfeiffer once said that being an actor allows her, with every new character, to learn about people she wouldn’t normally be exposed to. Being a teacher is that and so much more.
I believe true growth as a person can only happen by challenging yourself with situations that are not familiar to you. Throwing yourself into a job where you can encounter people from different ethnicities, different religions, different philosophies, different learning styles, and different backgrounds can only cause your own growth as a person.
And you never know how that will eventually translate. For some, it will mean a growth in empathy. For others, the fact that your brain learns something new everyday is a means to fight old age. Remember the nuns from Wales? This group of long-lived nuns had theories about their own longevity as it related to their active brain activities. Learning, they believed, kept Alzheimer’s at bay, and helped their minds stay intact even while their bodies aged.
Whatever your beliefs are, the fact is that a good teacher continues to be a student. This could mean continuing to be a student in a graduate class, or simply as a student of your own school community. IN my 10 years teaching, I learned more from other teachers, from my students, and from their parents then in any teacher credential program class (true, that’s not difficult to do – but that’s another article). And in, turn, when they see my own enthusiasm for learning, students will be more inclined to learn from me.
And that’s how my own happiness and growth translates into the success of my students.