Tuesday, May 29, 2007

This morning I again realized that good teaching does not consist in the exercise of the teacher’s will over the students’ wills, but rather in the exercise of what I might call the “universal will of learning”. It’s not easy to keep this in mind during the teaching day. I often fall into the bad habit of thinking that I must constantly exert my “will” in order to accomplish good things in the classroom. The scenario of “teacher over here and students over there” is, I’m afraid, often played out in my room. I don’t think I harass or intimidate my students, but, quite honestly, I do sometimes think of them as “subjects” who must bend to my willpower. This morning, though, I understand once again the inaccuracy of that viewpoint. I see that the only “will” that needs to exert itself as I’m teaching is the will of the entire universe to learn, develop, mature, expand, and spread. My students and I aren’t isolated, separate entities who have to use willpower to gain some “thing” called knowledge. We are part of a never-ending universe that grows because it has to grow and learns because it has to learn. Far from being an object that needs to be willfully brought under control, knowledge is a natural expansion that should be humbly experienced and enjoyed. Truly, there’s enough arrogance in the world today without adding more through my teaching. What I need to do is overcome my sense of self-importance and realize that this thing called learning is way bigger than any individual teacher or student. Learning is not about my will versus their will. It’s about constantly being open to the evolution of knowledge that is continuously occurring at all times and in all places, including my small classroom on Barnes Road.

No comments: