Saturday, April 12, 2008


Day 127, April 11, 2008

I had some discouraging days as a teacher this week, so this weekend I’m working hard to get back in touch with the basic truth that teaching is not about me. It’s not about whether “I” am a good teacher – whether “I” created exciting lessons this week and challenged “my” students and kept “my” classes running smoothly and made “my” students happy to be in “my” class. All of that kind of thinking is what sends teachers down the ego-trip road. It’s what sets up unrealistic goals and causes real discouragement. This weekend I’m quietly reminding myself that teaching is not about a person called a teacher, but about a process called education. It’s not about some “me” who stands in front of students, but about a progression, an evolution, a constant growth called learning. An individual teacher is no more important to this process than one small breeze is to a great wind. An immeasurable force called education is at work in my classroom, and I and my students are merely participants in that force. To set myself up as the originator of that force, or as being responsible for keeping the force moving, is the height of foolish pride. It’s like one small wave in the ocean saying, “I’ve been a bad wave today, and therefore the ocean is not going to work as well.” Do I need to continue to try to become a better teacher, to examine my mistakes and improve my lessons? Of course, but I need also to humbly keep in mind that the process I’m involved in, whether called education, learning, growth, or some other term, is as vast and mysterious as the great rivers of the world. One small current in one part of the Amazon River doesn’t get discouraged, and neither should I.

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