by Charlotte McMackin, Kol Emet

I have always loved teaching. Helping children discover their love for learning has been one of the best parts of this experience working as a teaching aid.

Something I love about working with children is how honest they are about what they need and how I can help them. One of the things I learned during the TAP program was to pay close attention to my students’ emotional changes. This is especially true for students with learning differences who may feel down or frustrated in class. I made it a point to ask what they need or how I can help them. I was surprised by how quickly the students shared their feelings when they felt comfortable. The students approached me and asked for my help without my prompting. I was happy that they felt comfortable enough to ask for help.

Another thing I love about teaching kids with learning differences is how much I can learn from them. Each time I help at Hebrew school, I feel that I learn more than I teach. During the TAP program, I learned many strategies to better understand my students. For example, I discovered subtle signs of anxiety and problem-solving skills. I also learned how to better relate to people, read body language and emotions, and was reminded about the power of friendship.

Finally, what I love about teaching is connecting with my students and seeing the result in the “ah ha” moment when they understand. These moments empowered me as an aid and as a student because I helped a child learn.