Thursday, February 01, 2007
Today I once again had to remind myself that "it's not about me". At the end of one of my classes, I was feeling discouraged, but (as I realize now) all my thoughts were about me : "I" was not a good teacher, and "my" teaching was amateurish, and "my" students deserve better. The focus was entirely on me, not on the students. I was upset, not because the kids seemingly didn't learn much, but because “I” couldn't award myself an "outstanding teacher" badge. It's frustrating how often and easily I forget that teaching is about infinitely more than just "me". The students and I are a tiny part of an endlessly complex and wondrous universe, in which teaching and learning are happening constantly in countless ways. As a teacher, I am like a wave in a never-ending sea. I can no more think of myself as a separate, independent entity in the teaching-learning process than a wave can separate itself from the sea. Today, when things seemed to be going badly in the classroom, instead of pitying myself and bemoaning my imagined failures, I needed to step back, way back, and see life, again, as what it is -- an immeasurable and harmonious dance. I'm sure much good came out of my classes today, just like much good comes out of every circumstance, but because of my self-absorption, I was not able to see it. While I was feeling sorry for my little "self", I missed the many wonderful things that were surely happening in my classes, right before me eyes.