“…Who rides his sure and even trot
While the world now rides by, now lags behind.”
-- George Herbert, “Constancy”
Of all the virtues I admire in good teachers, none is more special to me than constancy. One definition is “the quality of being faithful and dependable”, which is exactly the way I hope my students would describe me. I don’t especially care if I’m an exciting or funny or creative or even “excellent” teacher (whatever that means) – but I very much want to be a faithful and dependable one. Amid the young scholars’ sometime muddled and mixed-up lives, I want their English teacher to ride his “sure and even trot” day after day. If some things fall apart around them, well, at least Mr. Salsich will be the same. Of course, “being the same” could mean being boring, but it doesn’t have to. It could simply mean being dependable – being a sort of solid rock in a fairly tumultuous world, a strong tree in the blustery lives of the students. Actually, “strong” may be exactly the right synonym for constancy in this regard. A teacher with constancy is a strong teacher – one who stays faithful to his principles in the midst of distress and distractions, one whom students can depend upon to be basically the same today and tomorrow as yesterday. Since there is more than enough caprice in my students’ lives, I don’t need to add any more by changing my behaviors and routines every other week. I guess I’m more interested in being a sound and steady teacher than an “exciting” one – more like a well-built building than the whimsical weather. “While the world now rides by, now lags behind,” may Mr. Salsich stay the same, a constant and true old teacher who has a few simple things to share with young scholars of English.
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