Life Lesson 1: Experience Is The Best Teacher

This article is the first in a series of “life lessons” exploring some of the things that I have learned over the years. In this one, we explore the concept that experience is the best teacher.

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Life has with it certain milestones that we reach and we stop briefly to analyze where we are going and where we have been. I recently turned 30 years old and have been thinking quite a bit about a great many topics. I think I will occasionally share some with the readers of So You Want To Teach? as I think they may prove helpful for others.

Experience is the best teacher

As much as we like to claim otherwise, most of the greatest learning that happens in our life is from when we either completely mess things up, or else when we totally run into an amazing streak of good luck.

When I student taught, I was told the value of overplanning. I have since taken that to heart and overplan for almost everything that I do. Planning is an awesome skill and many problems can be avoided through thorough planning.

When I went to the UIL Concert & Sight Reading contest this spring, I forgot to bring an entry form signed by my principal. I left it on my desk.I was fortunately able to call another band director who was still in town, have him go to our school, find a custodian, get into my office, get the paper, and make it to our contest site in time. Is it any question that bringing that paper will be at the top of my pre-contest checklist every time from now on?

Nobody ever accomplished greatness simply by planning

There comes a time when You need to step out and actually do.

In my own spiritual life, it’s so easy for me to study the Bible and see the importance of prayer, to pray that God will help me spend more time in prayer, and to read books about the absolutely essential nature of prayer in the life of a Christian. But if I never set aside the time to be totally focused and undistracted, then I will never see that increase that I so desperately want to see.

Likewise, if I simply plan to lose weight or to get out of debt or to build an awesome blog or to call my mother more often or whatever great thing I know I should do, but never make the sacrifices necessary to do it, then those well-formulated plans will remain nothing more than mere dreams.

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About Joel Wagner 522 Articles
Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

3 Comments on Life Lesson 1: Experience Is The Best Teacher

  1. Hi, Joel,

    I found your blog through Cal Teacher.

    Like you, I was taught that more planning is better and to also have an S.O.S. kit. Like you said, you just have to go out and do. But the key I think is learning how to develop a balance between planning and teaching and that is a true skill that can only come with experience.

    Thanks for these reminders.

    Dorit
    http://newteacherresourcecenter.blogspot.com
    The New Teacher Resource Center

  2. I think this is a great article and gives me a glimpse at the future in my career as a teacher. This gives great advice and is very clear and concise. Thanks.

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