When the Student Becomes the Teacher

The end of an academic semester means a few things in my world. One is that it’s time to score student workbooks used in our middle school What’s Your Shine curriculum.

That’s what I found myself doing this afternoon – flipping through page after page of student workbooks.

I started out reading about the strengths and hobbies of these seventh through ninth graders. And their answers were typical for their age group with hobbies including playing video games;

spending time with friends;



and competing in sports.

Then, a few page flips later I found myself reading about the life experiences of these same students. And what I read in the workbooks left me with a heavy feeling in my heart. Experiences including the death of a sibling;

abuse by a loved one;

friends going to jail;

a family member struggling with alcoholism;

and their own anxiety and depression.

But then, something powerful happened. On the same page that they wrote these heavy life experiences, they also described what they learned from the experience and the positive effects that came from it. It was then that the student became the teacher.

As I made my way through the stack of workbooks, I found myself taking lessons in resiliency from these students. Lessons on the way to find joy in seemingly normal hobbies and then find light in the darkest of life’s experiences.

Today, I was a student in the lives of these young people. And the greatest lesson of all was that sometimes I need to get out their way and let their shine teach me.

Katie Kolkmeier

Director of Curriculum

Posted on 12/18/17 4:47 pm by Katie Kolkmeier in: Uncategorized

2 thoughts on “When the Student Becomes the Teacher”

  1. Maureen says:

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Kelly Bradley says:

    Katie, I love this post. It reminds me of my joy every time our children and now including grandchildren teach me lessons. If your eyes and ears are open and your awareness level is tuned in, the miracles happen. Thanks for sharing this thought as it brought me back to my own experiences of the young teaching the older person.

    I also loved Claudia’s piece about the flowers blooming this summer. We all need to take time to evaluate what it is we need most to be able to give our best. I will be sending this blog to Paige and Brooke and a few friends, as there is real value in lessons taught here.

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