Last Thursday, I went to the hospital for an out-patient procedure that would hopefully provide my husband and I answers to our battle with infertility. Why do I share this personal experience? Because it is shaping me into being a better person. You see, what was supposed to be an hour long procedure with quick return to my home that same evening turned into a four-day hospital stay with continued observation. During the routine procedure, my doctor pushed a little too hard and ended up puncturing my mensateric artery. As you can imagine, this is a serious mistake.
It was not because he was eager to finish, or inexperienced, but rather because he had to apply a little bt of pressure to go through scar tissue from a previous surgery. He thought he knew how much pressure to apply, but as it turns out, he applied too much. Think of how often this happens in education? We have experience, we have the time, and we think we know exactly how much pressure to exert on our students. We push, we dig, and all of a sudden the damage is done and it is too late. We don’t know how we got so deep, how we hurt them, and now it is our job to figure out how to heal them.
My doctor did something smart; he called in an expert. Someone who knew exactly what to do and could do it thoroughly and efficiently. He also asked a lot of questions and then he gave his best. He explained to my husband what had happened, he explained it to me, and then had to explain it several more times over the coming days to me and my family as we struggled with our questions. He never got angry, or impatient, but continued to answer our questions, to help us heal, to help us redevelop our trust in him as my doctor. He put in the work so that I would not lose my faith in him as a professional, or more importantly, as a human being. And I haven’t; he continues to treat me, and I continue to choose him as my doctor because he showed me that when a mistake was made, he was still there to figure it out. To make it right. To make me understand and to help me get better. That is our job as teachers as well. We make mistakes, we are human, but what distinguishes good teachers from great ones are the ones that stick around to fix their mistakes, to learn from them, and to invest even more into that relationship.
So next time you push too hard or you mess up; call in an expert, rely on others, repeat yourself, invest yourself, go above the requirements, and show them you are human, that you care. You will be better for it and you may end up strengthening someone’s belief in you.
As for me, I am stil out of school, still seeing a doctor every two days, still taking a lot of pain medicine, and very, very emotional. But I am ok. We got the answers we were looking for, we have a path to follow, and we also were reminded just how incredibly precious life and the people we share ours with is. Thank you for sharg yours with me.