Saturday, February 25, 2012


It’s comforting for me to remember, at those times when I don’t seem able to do anything correctly in the classroom, that there’s one thing I can always do with distinction – notice what is happening. No matter how horrible a situation seems, no matter how many mistakes I appear to have made, I can always simply wait and watch – just stand back and dispassionately witness whatever situation is presenting itself. It bears repeating: I can always do this. When I suddenly feel like a fool in front of the students for having forced a silly assignment upon them, I can always simply step away and observe my feelings of foolishness. If, in the midst of a lesson, I let myself fall into discouragement, there’s always the option of pulling back and quietly keeping my discouragement under observation. What’s intriguing – and comforting – about this is that I don’t have to actively do anything. Indeed, it’s the doing and manipulating and planning and presiding over that tends to tire me out, but simply noticing needs only alertness and sincerity, and actually leaves me less tired and more wide-awake than before. My life as a teacher is an endless parade of episodes, each one full of fascinations and bombshells, and truly taking pleasure in it – all of it – is simply a matter of making it something to notice, and perhaps stare at, with amazement.

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