How our instructor Rachel came to terms with never feeling ready

Sometimes, people spend months, years, and even decades telling themselves they are not ready, that they still need to do a lot of studying and preparing before they can take action. But aspiring teacher Rachel, a JEI Instructor at the Irvine-North, California center, knew that she would never be “ready”–and that it is okay.

Rachel felt connected to JEI Learning Center’s Self-Learning Method during her journey of self-discovery, as she had many doubts about her teaching abilities despite being an advocate for education. She opened up about such doubts, admitting, “Honestly, I did not know that teaching was right for me. I always wanted to help people and I knew I wanted to make an impact. [However,] I felt that I had so many weak areas that I wanted to strengthen before I ever become a teacher. I just never felt ready or prepared.”

However, she did not let those doubts take over her life. She took the necessary steps to help students in any way that she could and proved to be wiser than she gave herself credit for:

I chose JEI as an opportunity to learn more about my decision on becoming a teacher . . . [W]hen I entered JEI, I realized that my idea of readiness was completely wrong. Being ready to become a teacher was not something I needed to learn. Instead, I needed to learn how to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. To me, being ready is the same as being stagnant. I don’t want to be on the mark and ready. I want to be running. I don’t even need to be sprinting. I just want to be moving in some direction. I don’t want to be ready. I want to grow. I want to learn. I want to push myself in ways I never knew I could.

Already, Rachel proved that there was a lot that students could learn from her and that she was an Instructor to look up to. She is the epitome of grit, defined by Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth, a professor of psychology, as perseverance and fortitude. Rachel agrees that it is all about moving forward when facing challenges and uncertainty:

To me, grit is having heart. I think of grit as someone running. It doesn’t take much skill to run, but it takes two legs and the heart [to] keep going. People don’t get faster by walking, standing, sitting or lying down. People get faster by running and pushing their bodies to limits that go beyond comfort, even if it’s a little.  Ultimately, grit is having the perseverance to keep going even if the obstacles get harder.

Grit has proven to be on her side, as she felt that she was making the exact impact that she always wanted to make as an educator.

“When students come in and update me on how well they did on an assignment or test, I get excited to be part of their experience in what they see as success,” she told us, and added tips on how to see such positive results, like encouraging students to revisit concepts if they forget definitions or main ideas. “By doing this, I feel that students feel more in control of their learning instead of being reliant on their educators to give answers.”

To further help students take control of their learning under the guidance of educators, Rachel advised, “Never be comfortable! Always ask questions! I may not know the answer to everything but we can find the answer together.”  

Thank you, Rachel, for being such a passionate and active member of the teaching community at JEI Learning Center! There is no doubt that her students are well on their way to perfecting the Self-Learning Method and taking as much control of their lives as Rachel has with hers. Whatever she decides to pursue, we support her and look forward to her bright future!