We’re all smart in different ways

My high school teaching career was both brief and, for the most part, fun.
I began teaching in a small church-related high school in eastern Canada. A high school with high standards and excellent students.
But there was one serious problem. In this very small school everyone had to be flexible. So although I was hired as an English and business teacher, in my first semester I was assigned to teach Economic Geography to Grade 12 students.
It was a nightmare!
In the first place, the Canadian system is very rigorous. In the second place, I had not studied any geography since seventh grade while my Canadian students had taken geography all 11 years.
To make matters even worse, I had never been interested in the subject at all.
I didn’t even know the names or locations of the Canadian provinces while my bright students knew everything.
As I taught, I tried to be brave and self-confident. I never pulled down the many maps in the geography room to expose my ignorance.
And I stuck close to the textbook—going through the chapters at breakneck speed, focusing on the economics of each country rather than the geography.
Mercifully, part way through the semester, the principal came to me apologetically and asked if I would consider giving up Economic Geography to help in the office as he had no secretary.
I was saved. But poor Ella! Ella was a seasoned and excellent teacher, and she graciously added my class to her already full load.
Shortly after the change, Ella questioned me, “You were almost done with the textbook. What were you going to do next?”
I had to answer honestly, “I don’t know.”
As a result, Ella had to design creative lesson plans for the rest of the year while I did an excellent job as the school secretary for the next four years.
This story reminds me of last Sunday’s calendar saying, “I am a smart person. I have a bright mind.”
Yes, I am a smart person but I’m still not smart in geography. But that doesn’t matter at all because my husband has an “atlas” for a brain! Any time I want to know the capital of an obscure country, he can tell me more than I want to know, including its latitude and longitude.
I, on the other hand, remember people–their names, what they do, who their grandchildren are, and what they said in a particular situation 20 years ago.
It just goes to show that we are all smart in different ways. Some are smart in geography and some are “people” smart.
Some are smart in history and others in math. Some are smart about cake decorating and some about gardening.
Some have the gift of song or writing. Or the gift of conversation.
Everyone has a talent. And as you get older, don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t smart in something.
We’re all smart in different ways. Just make sure you appreciate your own special talent!
Marie Snider is an award-winning health writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@cox.net

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