Thursday, June 7, 2012

Teaching and Learning

This week has been crazy, on multiple levels.  It's been the kind of week that does not lend itself to kitchen experimentation.  So far for dinner this week we have had 1) nothing, 2) frozen pizza, 3) tuna helper, and 4) kielbasa.  Don't you WISH you were eating with us this week?!  You don't?  Well, I'm offended.

Today, however, is my fourth anniversary and dinner promises to be MUCH more exciting (and hopefully blog-worthy), so stay tuned.

One of the crazy things that happened this week is SURPRISE! there's a chance grad school might still work out.  Never mind that we've been back and forth on this 7 or 8 times, never mind that we've mentally changed gears so many times that I have a headache, and never mind that classes start MONDAY, ugh, there is a chance.  I should have an answer today.  I must have an answer tomorrow.

Part of that new chance involved my writing a 250 word essay entitled My Students Taught Me This.  And it was really last minute, like, don't-even-get-dressed-yet-cancel-your-plans-sit-down-and-write-this-NOW last-minute.  I wrote a very rough draft and it was over twice as long as necessary, so I had to pare it down quite a bit (which broke my  heart).  Obviously, my students have taught me a lot. 

My Students Taught Me This
By Allie Dillinger, English as a Second Language Teacher

My first day teaching I had six students and my legs shook as I introduced myself.  They smiled at me expectantly and completed every activity.  They gradually became more comfortable with me, and I became more comfortable in front of them.  I didn’t stay in front of them for long. 
                Soon I was sitting at their sides, trying to answer every question.  Often I had no idea and told them.  Every day they came eager to tell me how they had used English.  They showed me pictures from home.  They sat next to me on field trips.  They became my friends.
                Two years later I am not the same person I was on my first day.  Through encouragement and gratitude my students taught me to be confident.  Through simply being themselves they taught me to laugh, cry, advocate, and pray.  They taught me bits and pieces of many languages.  They taught me to look at my culture through different eyes – to question it, challenge it, and embrace the change they bring to it.  They taught me that mistakes are okay because admitting mine gives them freedom to make their own.  My students taught me to love teaching as much as I love learning, and that teaching and learning are often the same.
Sometimes I believe my students have given me far more than I have given them.  When I was scared and shaking, they gave me grace.  When I offered them a bridge to other parts of the world, they opened my eyes to it.  When I gave them answers, they gave me questions.  My students taught me that I have much more to learn and there is no better teacher than them.


  1. I so love how your heart pours out through your pen.

  2. me too! I got the email and just read it a few min ago cause work has been zooy. I am praying for you

  3. I agree wholeheartedly with your Mom and always enjoy reading these and learning more about you. Although I don't always comment, I have to say that I am so blessed to have a daughter-in-law that loves to teach, help others and has a humble spirit. Praying you get the soon needed answers for your future.

  4. YAY Anniversary! And YaY Maybe grad school... I will PRAY about that! :) Love you girl.

  5. Happy Anniversary!!!! I love your essay! And I love reading what you write!