Thursday, November 30, 2006
Because I often spend far too much time dwelling on the many ideas that seem to be involved in being a good teacher, I tend to lose sight of the vast power of just one idea. Frequently, my teaching becomes too complicated, even for me. In trying to keep track of a multitude of truths about what makes a successful lesson, I often ignore the fact that one good idea thoroughly understood and devotedly followed can transform a mediocre teacher into a champion. I guess you could say I focus too much on the trees and not enough on any one single tree -- too much on all the leaves and not enough on one excellent leaf. For example, if I simply held in mind today that each of my students is a product of a universe that has been creating wonders-to-behold for 15 billion years, and that each of them is as astonishing as the Grand Canyon, I would have a totally successful day of teaching. Amazing things would happen, minute by minute, just by staying focused on the power of that one idea. That idea would be like a bright sun shining at the center of everything that happens in the classroom. I guess I just need to remember the value of simplicity. Teaching does not need to be a convoluted, complicated process, filled with maze-like twists, turns, and barriers. It can be as simple and astonishing as a single good idea.