The importance of a good teacher

Having now wrapped up my four week program at Scuola Leonardo di Vinci, I have a few parting thoughts about the experience.

First and foremost, you have an extraordinary instructor working with your team, and she’s inspired me to be a better instructor when I get home.

I was apprehensive about this program, because it’s been a long, long time since I was a student in a field that I knew nothing about. At almost 42 years old, it’s scary being the new kid who’s starting from scratch. Never mind being old, I’m a freaking teacher myself, and here I am on the other side of the teacher-student model?!

Showing up on my first morning of class, I was so nervous, wondering what to expect. When I sat down for my oral exam, to gauge my [very basic] proficiency, I was introduced to Sylvia from the school. Those first few moments of having a fledgling conversation with Sylvia, in Italian, were the last ones in which I felt uncomfortable in class, and that’s entirely because of Sylvia’s teaching style… after I confirmed that I was “in”, I felt great.

As an instructor, Sylvia makes learning comfortable. She helps you feel okay about trying, making mistakes, and learning from them. And best of all for me, she gauges how you’re doing, and how you’re feeling, and adjusts her plan and her approach accordingly. She pushes you to try, to go beyond your comfort zone, to be better, even if only in small incremental steps.

Fellow teachers, take note: this is how you inspire students, and leave an impact that will last months and years after your time in the classroom with someone.

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