I’ve never realized it before, but when I’m teaching, I’m almost constantly engaged in “defining” myself. What I mean is, I’m picturing myself as a certain type of person in a certain type of role – a person with a specific outline or form. I see myself as a “teacher” or “adult” or “disciplinarian” or “friend”. These roles, these definitions of me, shift constantly as I’m teaching, but they always seem to be there. This is all well and good, as long as I am aware that they are only definitions, only roles I’m playing, and not the real me. The problem arises when I unconsciously become identified with these roles and begin to believe I am the roles – and it happens often, almost constantly. If I’m honest, I have to admit that my days in the classroom are spent, for the most part, in the unconscious acting-out of my various roles, with very little thought given to who is the real power behind the roles. What I would like to do this coming school-year is be more aware of what’s really happening in any situation – and what’s really happening is the infinite universe going about its beautiful business. In a very real sense, the power behind all the roles I play in the classroom is the entire universe (some people call this “God”), of which I am a part. What I should be doing in my classroom, instead of getting all caught up with my limiting definitions as teacher, adult, disciplinarian, or friend, is quietly observing the infinite, indefinable wonders that occur moment by moment in the interactions between my students and me. Yes, I have to play roles in my work as a teacher, but I want to always remember that they are like the waves on the surface of the ocean. The roles I play as a teacher are interesting, but the real power – a vast, illimitable power, a power that makes everything work, a power that I am part of – is underneath.
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