I am not a patient person.
Actually, I would consider myself a very impatient person. I dislike waiting. I dislike explaining myself over and over. I dislike being in a situation where I perceive my time to be ‘being wasted’.
I see this as a significant personality flaw, and try to be conscious of when I am being abrupt with others. But some days try me more than others.
On Tuesday of this week, I taught Prep. I repeated this yesterday. The same class – which made it easier as I knew some of their names. The kids, as a whole, were lovely children, and I did find the days enjoyable – although exhausting.
But what I found difficult to comprehend was the extremely poor level of “academic” knowledge of some of these children. Several of them, at 5 or even 6 years old, could not even identify their letters, and couldn’t answer what sound they made. Some would answer “nnnn” for the letter ‘P’ or would pronounce “S” with a ‘d’. And they seemed completely confused by the whole concept of letters, sounds, and words.
I was flabbergasted. As a mum of three young ones myself, and (I admit with major embarrassment) someone who only taught her eldest capital letters prior to her own entry to Prep 2 years ago, I realise now the importance of equipping your child – and doing it properly. Miss 7 had to “relearn” each letter, and that’s something I’m determined to rectify with my younger two cherubs. But as for these Prep children this week – it was as if the whole alphabet was a foreign concept! And that brings me back to the idea of patience.
I’m glad I’m a ‘High School’ teacher. I doubt I’d have the patience to teach younger children all day every day. But then again, it’s the constancy of the activity that has the most effect. It’s the pressure on the coal that turns it into a diamond; the regularity of a water drip that will form a trickle, then a stream, then the mighty waterfall.
Perhaps it’s not that I *need* to practice patience to be a better person, it’s that the situations I find myself in, where I must demonstrate patience, will form in me the traits that I desire.
Or perhaps I should not wish “patience” for myself – as there’s only one way that I will learn it!