19 October 2006

Daily Contemplation #1

When I am in the middle of giving some sort of lecture to a student about how what they are doing is inappropriate. I am instantly struck with the thought that I didn't get into teaching to just teach words, or books or writing. I got into teaching for the students. An instant conviction of my own aspirations takes the breath right out of me. At the end of the day, what will they remember about being in my class? Pronouns, descriptive writing, appositions? Maybe but probably not. They'll remember the extra moment I took to explain something to them. The half second I flashed a smile when they were frustrated or feeling down. These are certainly the things I remember most about high school. The content of high school, and any school/education, I would argue, is all about academics but when we get down to it, we want our students/children to be "good people." We want to send them into society enlightened, educated, better citizens, kind and generous. Although all of these terms are ambiguous we have semblance of why we're in school. So in the middle of intensely explaining prepositional phrase openers and transitions in essays, what are they listening to, or rather what am I truly saying? These moments hit me like a kick to the stomach--right there--and throw me off balance. I am talking and thinking and talking and thinking and all of a sudden I don't know what I'm talking or thinking about anymore!

Today, I remember why I teach. I remember to smile, to laugh when appropriate, to have patience when I don't feel that there is any reason to. I remember to be a "good" teacher and to not get too caught up in the grammar and content but to be absorbed in what it means to be an educator: to love.

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