“Comfort, my liege; remember who you are.”
-- Shakespeare, Richard II
When troubles take hold in my classroom – small failures in the lesson, some ill-timed levity, hesitancy and unassertiveness in some of us – I just try to pause and remember who I am. I often get lost in the pretend performance called “Mr. Salsich, Superteacher”, and it’s a pleasure to pull out of it and recall that, really, I’m simply a piece in an endless and pleasing puzzle called learning. The process of education is as boundless as the sea or sky, and just as inscrutable, and I am lucky to be a part of it, a small wave or a far-away star that’s barely seen. The burden of teaching is not on me but on the wisdom the universe bestows second by second, like breezes constantly blowing whether I wish them to or not. I often get discouraged in my teaching because I bring a wrong understanding of who or what does the work. Do I get down if dawn today turns dreary, or if winds are from the west instead of the east? Do I fret and feel diffident if my pulse rate is 64 instead of 66? Of course not, since I know that forces far more powerful than me are moving all things in just the best ways and toward flawless destinations. I just show up in the classroom the way I awaken in the morning: behold, at 4:30 a.m., there’s my blood rolling through my body, as always, and at 8:45 a.m., there’s learning letting itself be free among my students, as always. I don’t do the teaching any more than I do the shining or shadowing on a sunny day. The sun is the sole bringer of any brightness across the earth, and an inexplicable and everlasting force called education does all the duties in Room 2. I am, fortuitously, simply a witness to this force, a partaker of it, a piece of something that started back when the sun first started shining.