Tuesday, October 10, 2006

ON TEACHING:Spotlights Coming On

Yesterday, I walked into the gym at school when all was dark, and suddenly the lights started switching on. As I proceeded across the floor, each light came on when I passed beneath it, almost as though I was a celebrity, someone very special, and the lights were following me. This odd experience turned my thoughts to teaching, and I began to wonder whether something analogous to this could happen in my classroom. Could my students feel, as the days and weeks pass, that the lights of success are constantly switching on and growing brighter? Could they feel like they are slowly walking into the "arena" of knowledge, with spotlights gradually coming on? Some might dismiss this as merely a pollyanna hope, a dream that couldn't possibly come true, but I'm not so sure. In any case, no matter how unrealistic it may seem, it is certainly a goal worth aiming for. I do want my students to feel, each and every day, that the light of success is shining a little brighter on them. In a gradual but steady way, I hope they will feel like they are walking a little prouder and straighter as they learn and grow. This is a goal I must keep always in mind. In the daily busywork of teaching, I must never lose sight of the fact that these kids are special and need to feel that way. They need to believe they are singular and extraordinary, deserving of renown. Like in the gym, it's my task to make them sense that the spotlights of achievement are slowly coming on all around them.

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