My goal, as I move through my fifth decade as a teacher of teenagers, is to gradually become more like a child in the classroom. We adults progressively become very different people from what we were as children, but different doesn’t necessarily mean better. We know more, earn more, own more, and can do more than children, but that doesn’t mean we are happier or more successful than children. I certainly don’t want to regress back to my silly, childish days, but I wouldn’t mind recapturing some of the spontaneous and guileless ways of childhood, for I feel it would make me a better teacher. I wouldn’t even mind being known as a naïve teacher, if by that is meant natural and unaffected. Children are naïve, in part, because they haven’t yet learned the ways of artifice and disingenuousness. They’re sincere and bright, not slick and clever like so many of us adults. A little childlike naïveté might make me a more unbiased and instinctive teacher, with less posing and masquerading and more old-fashioned genuineness. Perhaps, if I regained some of my 6-year-old-ness, I might be somewhat less suspicious in the classroom. Instead of wondering what the kids are doing behind my back or what anti-teacher thoughts they’re thinking, I might start noticing the best of their qualities more often than the worst. I might consistently expect goodness in Room 2 rather than always snooping around for possible duplicity and disruption. It wouldn’t be bad to be like a kid as I stand at the front of the room – uninhibited, without airs, and trusting. I have no hair on my head and only folds and rumples on my face, but in my heart it could be always early spring. I could even whistle, or do a hop and skip now and then.
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