ONE YEAR WITH AN ENGLISH TEACHER
Day 83, Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Metaphor of the Day: An Iceberg
This morning it came to me, as it very often has, that I know almost nothing about my students -- or about teaching, for that matter. I've been a teacher for over 40 years (starting in 1965!), and yet I feel, quite honestly, like I have as much to learn about this inscrutable profession as I did when I started. It's as if teaching is an immense iceberg, and I've merely been exploring what appears above the surface for all these years -- and what's below the surface just keeps growing! It's a little dispiriting I guess, but also, strangely exhilarating. I feel like an explorer still in the heady first stages of a stirring adventure.
During one of the classes today, a girl was talking to me (and the class) and I was looking directly at her, as I instruct the students to do when someone is speaking. However, at one point, the thought came to me to look down at my lesson plans to see what I was supposed to do next. While she was still talking, I looked down at my notes for maybe 10 seconds, but I quickly realized my mistake. The girl was trying to express her thoughts to her teacher, and her teacher was looking down, trying to think of what he wanted to say next! It was a dumb mistake (typical of many adults, I'm afraid), and I apologized for it to the girl and the class. Tomorrow I will try once again to give my full attention to each student who is speaking -- and I will expect, of course, the same from my students.