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TeacherA few days ago, I was riding the El home late at night, and was approached by a homeless man asking everyone in the El train for money. Now, this is a common occurrence. Usually, I will encounter one or more persons asking for money, so my response has been, “Sorry, I don’t have any to spare.”

Now, on this occurrence, someone spoke up, and announced loudly “Sure! I’ll give you some money…, but, answer this question first, and answer it correctly, then I’ll give you some money.” (I thought that was a strange way to offer money – For me, giving is without conditions) The homeless man didn’t know how to respond, so he said “Okay.” The question was “What are you going to do with the money, I give you?”

Simple question, right? A fair question, but it never got completed… then he went on to say “Be careful how you respond because if you answer incorrectly, I won’t give you any of my hard-earned money”. Then he spoke to the crowd that was listening in. “I work hard my money…” (blah.. blah…blah…) That’s when I turned off to his tirade. It was obvious that he was lecturing the homeless man.

From then, he kept on lecturing, saying things: like how much learned from life, that you have to keep going, and get up after life knocks you down. People will stand in your way, and you have to take what you want, sometimes life will throw surprises at you, but you have to keep moving.

These are all good sayings, but in the tone & manner that he was speaking, nobody was really listening. The homeless man was silent and unsure on how to respond. But, he finally responded and said that he only wanted some money, if someone can spare it. After that more lecturing from the supposed giver, so the homeless man walked away. Then, the supposed giver, turned his attention to the crowd, and kept lecturing. Fortunately, his stop came by, and he left the El.

I bring this up because as a teacher, myself, I know that respect must be given to students before they’ll listen. Sometimes, we get ahead of ourselves and start teaching without listening to others, and when we think we’re teaching, we’re not. We’re just being “know-it-alls”. I hope that teachers out there will also agree that we (teachers) are not more intelligent than our students, we may have more specific knowledge about the course, but we are not smarter than our students. The person in my story, has forgotten that fact, and may have believed that he was better than the homeless man. Either because he made more money, or because he works hard for his money. In either case, he was disrespecting the homeless person, and I was about to speak up, but decided against dragging out a discussion that probably would have not been productive.

So please, take a moment, the next time you encounter a teacher and observe their teaching style. See how much love and patience they give their students. Also, when you start to lose patience with someone, take a step back, and realize that if you lose your patience, the teaching ends, and now you’re just venting, which isn’t really helpful to the listener, in-fact, it’s probably turned into a harmful tirade. I hope that man who was lecturing will learn how to see things from the other side, and to take time when he teaches someone. It takes to people to learn: One a teacher, and one the learner. If one is absent, there is no exchange of information. Also, the teacher is learning from the learner. It’s amazing how much I’ve learned from my students, and how they’ve taught me in their diverse ways. I find it quite amazing how different people can look at the same thing and see it with a totally different perspective.

Be proud if you’re teacher (and most of us are) because it takes a lot of energy and can be very challenging at times, but we try our best and exercise love for students who take us past our boiling part at times. Remember those irritating students, the ones we learn to love only after they’ve left our classes, but they will forever be in our thoughts, because they’ve taught us valuables lessons that we could not see until we took a step back, away from the annoying, torturous, insipid banter they vomited our way (oops… too much?? 🙂 haha! )

Have a wonderful evening everyone, and please exercise a little more patience with the people that are stressing you out, because in their own strange way; they are trying to teach you patience 🙂