Fortunately for me, I seem to be learning how to drive through stormy weather with a fairly comfortable attitude, and I’ve also grown more comfortable with the storms that occasionally swirl through my classroom. The coming on of clouds and showers used to take the fun out of highway driving for me, but I’ve learned to let the storms show me their magnificence more than their menace, and a similar change has happened in my teaching. Tough times come to any teacher – poorly planned lessons, little misbehaviors here and there, a thorough feeling of monotony among the students – and I’ve slowly learned that leaning into these obstacles is better than resisting them. There’s something striking about a storm descending across a road, if only I can open myself to it, and the same is true of the trials that sometimes test the wisdom of every teacher. When a lesson loses momentum and makes me feel like a failure, I can try my best to bring my attention to the strange aptness of it all – the fact that it happened, the fact that something else will happen in the next moment, the fact that suitable mysteries will continue to happen forever. Finding a certain fascinating properness in storms on highways or collapses in the classroom is not easy, but I’m learning to do it – and am learning to relax and smile more in the process.
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