Tuesday, December 3, 2013

365 Inspirations—337: My Students

"There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."—Nelson Mandela

 I'm an author, but I'm also an ESL teacher at a local community college. Writing and teaching are two of my passions, but it's not the act of teaching or writing that brings me the most joy, it's what I'm able to convey through these mediums. I feel so happy and fulfilled when I see others find purpose, peace and joy in their lives—when they discover something about themselves or learn something they may have initially thought was difficult or impossible. I think it's the breakthroughs and the 'ah-ha' moments I witness in others that bring me a sense of fulfillment and bring me closer to my own discoveries. We are all learning and growing here, and sharing that process with others helps my own process of growth.

I've very impressed with my students this quarter, particularly my small business ownership class. I volunteered to teach it without knowing too much about what the class entailed. My husband has owned several small businesses, so I wasn't completely out of my league.

Still, I made sure I lined up plenty of guest speakers to cover the things that I did not know. I'm not fond of accounting, so I just touched on the materials that dealt with numbers. Afterall, it's an ESL class  and I am an ESL teacher, not an accountant.

So I decided to focus on the language aspect of business. I focused on the business proposal minus the spread sheets. We studied vocabulary related to small businesses and each student came up with their own business proposal which included a business name, tag line or jingle, owner's qualifications, five-year plan, etc.

Today they gave presentations and shared with the class their ideas. I was so impressed by these. Some of these presentations were reminiscent of Steve Job's new product presentations for Apple. These students have mastered the Power Point presentation. Here are some of them:

I'm sure the investors on Shark Tank would have invested in many of their ideas because they all sold me on what they had to offer.

Even though I volunteered to teach this class, I thought that I may not like it that much. Business can be so dry, but this class was completely creative. The students selected business ideas that they were PASSIONATE about and this made for a very exciting, energetic, FUN class and we also got to learn along the way.

I realized that if I allow students to choose and be part of the learning process, they learn so much more. It's fun for me, for them and for everyone.

I'm fairly positive that many of them will start many of these businesses they proposed. It's just an ESL class, but I know some of them will go on to take business classes or accounting classes. They will study nutrition, photography, architecture or any other classes they need to make their dreams come true.

I had one student who had absolutely no idea what her passion was. She spent the first couple weeks wondering if she'd ever find a business idea. Somehow, along the way, she discovered it and gave one of the BEST presentations I've ever seen and with so much enthusiasm. It made me happy to be part of this process of discovery.

I'm happy that I got to be part of seeing all of my students' passions and ideas come alive. It makes my job so worthwhile.

Have you ever done or taught something that seemed out of your league, only to discover that it was right up your alley?

1 comment:

  1. Kathy,
    What beautiful timing to use a quote from Mandela!