I sometimes wish I could be more like a mirror when I’m teaching. Mirrors are long-suffering, self-effacing, and always gracious. They don’t do anything, really, but stay out of the way and faithfully reflect back just what’s in front of them. You might say mirrors don’t have a “personality” of their own, but continually change as the world in front of them changes. They don’t bustle about and interfere with anyone’s life. In fact, mirrors don’t do at all; instead, they show, reveal, uncover, and disclose – and that’s why I can learn something about good teaching from them. I bustle around my classroom way too much – chattering, questioning, sermonizing, and generally discharging vast amounts of words, most of which flow right past the students. I could use some of a mirror’s ability to stay put and simply accept what’s happening. Whatever comes before a mirror is welcomed by it, and that spirit of hospitality and tolerance would be a pleasing addition to my classroom. A mirror’s ability to reveal exactly what’s in front of it might also be helpful to my students. If they knew they could discover more about themselves in my class because their teacher, like an unassuming mirror, helps to reflect and reveal their personal talents, then perhaps they would enter the room with more enthusiasm than they do when they know Mr. Salsich is simply going to do more of his uninterrupted and sometimes tedious teaching.
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