Last night in tap dance class, as sometimes happens, the teacher started teaching us a combination I swear at a revved up speed. She kept showing us the steps (say 8 sounds) quickly, and before I knew it it was over and I'd maybe got one sound. Then she'd do it again and I got the 1st and the 2nd sound. Then again, and I got the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd sound, etc. I was getting frustrated. She was getting frustrated. "Come on people. These are all steps you know. This class is about putting these steps to a different rhythm. If you're not getting it, then you're not practicing your basics at home. You've all seen this before."
I had a teaching epiphany. I eventually got the steps. But she was going too fast for my comprehension. She was chastising us for not practicing. It wasn't that I didn't want to learn and master the steps, it was just that I needed it taught in a different way. I started getting mad at her, and I didn't even want to hear the sound of her voice. It wasn't MY fault, it was HERS, I muttered to myself.
Then I thought about my teaching. I could see myself in class getting frustrated (hopefully internally) with the students as some of the them struggle with basic concepts that we've gone over in the past that I thought should be second nature to them, and they still didn't get it.
I hope to remember from last night's experience that everyone is human, people have a lot on their minds. It's not that they don't want to be successful in class, they just need a diplomatic reminder of past concepts and a helpful hand to guide them to understanding and mastery.