Thursday, February 26, 2009

"Afternoon Clouds, Esquimalt Harbor", oil on canvas, by Jeffrey J. Boron

Day 102, Thursday, February 26, 2009

Today in all my classes we watched films – one about Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, and the other about Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”. They’re good films and it appeared the scholars enjoyed them, but I came to doubt myself a bit as I watched them. After all, I wasn’t really teaching, which is what I get paid to do. I was simply sitting in the back of the room, relaxing and enjoying the movies. I wasn’t leading, guiding, instructing, or edifying anyone. (Well, I did pause the film occasionally to share some insights about what was happening, but anyone could have done that.) However, eventually this led me to remember something I’ve often thought and written about – that teaching isn't always about the teacher. I was doubting myself because I wasn’t the center of attention – wasn’t the headliner in the ‘English show’. Were the scholars learning, even with their teacher sitting in silence in the back? Of course they were. They were watching enthralling films about the material they have been studying for several weeks. For me to think they always need my supervision in order to learn anything is as silly as thinking they need my help to breathe. Learning is always happening, and it happened today, even with me relaxing in a comfortable chair with a cup of coffee.

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