Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I have come to realize that attachment is one of the greatest dangers in my teaching. One definition for the word is "an emotional tie or bond to someone or something", and this definitely applies to my work as a teacher. For instance, each day I become thoroughly attached to the goals I set up for my classes. I try to focus my entire attention on reaching those goals, and I invariably feel disappointed if I don't reach them. Because I am “emotionally tied” to my daily objectives, falling short of them is like a genuine loss to me. Of course, in one sense, there’s something laudable about this kind of devotion to goals, but there’s also something dangerous: if I’m totally focused on a particular end, I’m going to be closed to all other possible ends. In order to be completely dedicated to one specific path in my teaching, I have to block myself off from all other potentially rewarding paths. Attachment to one thing requires unawareness of everything else. It’s strange to realize this, because I've always thought "single-mindedness " was an entirely good quality, but now I'm not so sure. There are countless miracles ready to happen in my classroom each day, and somehow I have to keep myself open to all of them. Obviously I do have to make plans and set specific goals, but, one way or another, I must also stay alert for the wonders that await my students and me each moment.

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