Exploring being a forever student and teacher in our classroom of life.

Learning is often associated with the traditional classroom, school and education facilities.

But what if learning goes far beyond the classroom...

What if our livingness, our every moment in life, is an opportunity to learn and thus every moment of every day we are in the classroom of life?

It is an irrefutable fact that every day we all wake up to our life-classroom filled with a continuous and never ending supply of lessons, opportunities and challenges. Many aspects of life are presented and re-presented time and time again, ready to be self-mastered … when the willing student says yes!

Life presents to us:

  • People we find challenging
  • Reactions from others
  • Rejection
  • Death
  • Loss
  • Failure
  • Difficult moments
  • Relationships
  • The word ‘no’
  • Financial affairs
  • Jealousy
  • People not doing as we expected
  • Our ‘shoulds’, wants, expectations, pictures and attachments not happening as we expected them to … our smashed pictures of life
  • Feelings and awareness’s we find challenging
  • Life lessons
  • Tasks we don’t yet know how to do

What if these situations are not as bad as we make them out to be? Rather we could see them as opportunities – as life lessons one is YET to self-master. No one person has mastered all parts of life; however, as individuals we are the same in that:

  1. We all have parts of life we are yet to self-master … students of life

  2. We all have parts of life we have already self-mastered … teachers of life.

Is it possible that many behavioural challenges, relationship issues, feelings of anxiety, mental health concerns etc., are in part influenced by us resisting the lessons on offer in our forever classroom of life?

For example:

a) A person having a tantrum in the shop may not have yet developed the skills to respond to the word ‘no’ (life)

b) A person with depressive behaviours may not have developed the skills and understanding of how to respond to the death of someone close to them (life).

c) A person being abusive may not have developed the skills and self-acceptance to respond to rejection (life).

d) A school student ripping their page up may not have developed the skills and ability to self-review when responding to making a mistake (life) or receiving a correction (life).

e) A person calling another a cheater may not have developed the skills to respond to losing (life).

f) A person attacking another may not have developed the skills to observe without reactions in responding to judgment from others (life).

The commonality amongst these examples (of a seemingly endless list) is that a person’s body reacts when there is a part of life the person perceives they have not yet developed the skills to respond to, and consequently do not embrace the life lesson before them but rather can react or remain stubborn in what could be deemed as one’s “safety mechanisms” to cope.

Thus, lasting behavioural change can occur when a person has learnt, developed and implemented the required skills and thus understands what is needed to respond to what life is presenting.

Life offers us many titles – mother, father, CEO, cleaner, accountant, specialist, swimmer etc. – however titles do not come close to describing our true roles. Title, age, gender, height, culture, societal status, qualification, background, religious orientation etc. do not matter – each person in this world carries the same two true roles, that is to be:

  1. A forever student of life

  2. A forever teacher of life

As a forever student of life, when our body reacts, even in the slightest way, we simply ask from an inquisitive and non-judgmental approach:

“I wonder what skills I need to learn and understand about life so I can respond to this part of life and no longer react to it?”

A forever teacher of life will observe another person’s reaction, even the slightest of reactions, and ask from the same inquisitive and non-judgmental approach:

“I wonder what skills the other person needs to learn and understand about life so they can respond to this part of life and no longer react to it?”


“If I have developed these skills and understanding then I know I have a skill to share when a willing student appears (in their timing, not my timing).”

These steps remain a continual cycle, as life will NEVER stop presenting lessons for us all to learn and teach, hence we are forever students and forever teachers of life.

Currently our mental health industry is populated by many relief based strategies that at best are offering short-term relief. What if relief is not it? What if lasting change will only come about when people commit to developing the skills and understanding of how to respond to life and all that it presents?

Filed under

TeachersAnxietyBehaviourMental healthAwareness

  • By Tanya Curtis, Author, Behavioural Specialist, Assoc Dip Ed. (Child Care), BHlthSci. (BehMgt), MBehMgt, MCoun

    Tanya is dedicated to supporting people to understand and change their unwanted behaviours and live their full potential. Tanya’s deep care and love of people shines through all of the initiative she dedicates herself to.

  • Photography: Dean Whitling, Brisbane based photographer and film maker of 13 years.

    Dean shoots photos and videos for corporate portraits, architecture, products, events, marketing material, advertising & website content. Dean's philosophy - create photos and videos that have magic about them.