Thursday, November 27, 2008
“Way Over My Head”
Strange as it may sound, I usually feel that the skills necessary to be a good middle school English teacher are ‘way over my head’ -- and actually, I’m glad I feel that way. That recurring feeling of being dumbfounded as to what this teaching business is all about serves to keep me humble -- and humility, I think, is one of the most important prerequisites for a teacher. Over the years, teaching has become a vaster and more perplexing mystery to me. More and more I see that I’m involved in a profession that rivals rocket science in its intricacies and enigmas. I’m like a nanoscale breeze blowing in the immensity of the worldwide winds of learning. I don’t mean to suggest that what I’m doing in my small classroom in my small school is not important or beneficial -- just that it’s no more important than the zillion other educative influences that will blow my students’ way. If someone asked me to define or explain these influences -- these magical ways in which learning happens -- I would have to say, “It’s way over my head.” Saying it would remind me to get off my high horse and humbly pay homage to the immeasurable enterprise I’ve been engaged in for the past 42 years.
(Below is a post from two years ago on this subject: