ONE YEAR WITH AN ENGLISH TEACHER
The Metaphor for the Day: A Breeze
Maybe I'd like to be like a breeze today. A breeze usually refreshes, revives, enlivens, and invigorates, which is what a teacher should be able to do for his students. The kids come to my class with stresses and worries oppressing them, and maybe English class could whisk some of those pressures away. The students might "perk up" during my class the way we do when a breeze floats past on a stifling summer day. It's interesting to note, too, that a breeze can't be hurt or stopped. Ever try hitting a breeze? Put a blockade up, and a breeze will deftly sidle around it. Teachers sometimes feel hurt or frustrated by their work, but a teacher who's like a breeze just keeps fluttering along, around, under, over, and through. Nothing is a big problem to a breeze -- or to the kind of teacher I hope to be today.
3:17 p.mToday, in one class, I spoke to a student in a slightly harsh tone. It may have gone unnoticed by the class, and perhaps by this student -- but I noticed the harshness as soon as I spoke. As I recall, I was anxious to move on to a new part of the lesson when this student raised his hand, and the mild severity in my words to him was due, I think, to my frustration about being thwarted in my attempt to move on. The harshness was subtle, but I definitely noticed it. I must continue to work on speaking gently at all times. In the classroom, there is never an excuse for a severe or abrasive note in my voice.