Day 104, Tuesday, March 3, 2009
The word “attention”, which is a favorite of teachers, derives from the Latin “teneo”, which means “to hold fast” – and I’m afraid I didn’t do much holding fast today. I wasn’t very attentive to my students. I had a million things on my mind during class (be sure you mention this, don’t forget to cover this, remember to remind the students about that, etc), and consequently I think I forgot the most important thing of all – the individual students. There they were, a group of living, breathing, thinking, feeling children sitting in front of me waiting to be noticed, and I was so busy with my long lists of items to cover that I’m afraid I barely noticed them. Yes, I addressed the class in a clear and orderly way, and yes, I listened when they spoke to me, but I don’t think I was really attentive to them. I wasn’t really ‘holding them fast’ in my awareness. It saddens me to realize that, because it's not the kind of teaching I admire. It’s not even real teaching. It's just fast-paced, madcap, rushing and dashing – and I don’t intend to do it tomorrow.