Patience in Education As Taught by Winnie the Pooh

Perspective is such a wonderful thing in many ways. It allows us to connect with others and allows people to come to a place of understanding, one to another. Sometimes that means agreement, too, but not always. Nevertheless, as educators, it is important to understand that patience is a key in training our students to think, learn, and grow in wisdom. Over time, our students may learn to appreciate and understand our perspective on things, and value what we have given them, but we must be consistent to train and educate our students whether or not we see their immediate response. Winnie the Pooh may have summed this up most accurately when he said, “If the person you are talking to doesn’t appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”Simple words, but deep truth. Harder still, though to act upon as teachers and educators. But if we can put aside our need to get credit, or our need to get anything at all out of it, then we can be free to continue doing what we are doing, faithfully, and change the lives of our students along the way. Clearly it’s nice to have positive feedback, and we all perform better with it, but if we don’t get it, does it change our obligation as educators? No. We are still called to be effective conveyors of information, whether it is in teaching concepts or teaching skills, we are challenged to do our jobs well.To do that, we must put aside our own need for attention. There is an old phrase about teaching being a thankless job, and yet many, many students in colleges are still majoring in Education. Why? If the field is so thankless, you would imagine that Education majors would be dwindling. They’re not, and so I would say that there is still an intrinsic value in educating others that is its own reward. We must hang on for that.When I was in college, I wrote my parents a note. I described how I had come to value their years of parenting, guiding me on the right path, allowing me to learn solid skills, giving me strong educational opportunities, etc. It was a rather long and “flowery” letter that let them know that I was beginning to see things from their perspective. It had only taken me about twenty years to get there. Upon getting my letter, my dad called me up, and in his best witty voice, he said, “Well, you’re right on time with this!”I was shocked and almost hurt that he didn’t see the deep meaning in my letter, but that was the point, wasn’t it? He did see the value in my letter because he had invested the time and energy over the last twenty years in creating that value.Education is much like parenting in this way. We must create the value over time, being patient and steady, and one day, right on time, our students will come to understand the benefits of what they have gained, from our perspective!