Thursday, September 29, 2011

On Teaching

I loved teaching, still love teaching.  When my health said it was time to stop, I turned away from the classroom.  I now have two granddaughters whom I love without end.  Still, I miss the classroom, the eyes of the students as they learn. 

The eyes never change.   

In the twenty years since my first group of students, I may not recognize them, but they recognize me.  

 When I see the eyes, I can call up the child-face these adults once had.  Suddenly we are talking about their lives and what they are doing as adults.  Some have children holding their hand, some are going on to school.  I don’t tell them about me, my life goals, because I am not and never was the important one:  the students were all that mattered to me.

Almost every night I have a dream about teaching.  Some are great, where we are on the playground or we are reading a grand book.  Others are not. 

In those dreams, the teaching situation is desperate, the classroom is an abandoned rotting shell of a building, and the students are scared.  So am I.  There are so many students with all sorts of needs and we don’t have enough books to go around.  Whatever learning happens is up to the teacher, because there is no other source.  I see their eyes looking at me, waiting, and that is when I do something.

Bolivia Road of Death
I never get to find out what I do, for the dream morphs onto something like driving a school bus along that most dangerous road in Bolivia.  Then I wake up.


It all comes down to the teacher and the quality he/she brings to the classroom.  Money can be thrown at the needs of the schools, but if the teacher does not have the freedom to teach, nothing will happen.  

New updated 
politically correct textbooks can be stacked to the ceiling, reams of lined paper can line the walls, and sharpened pencils can lie in laundry baskets.  

But, if the teacher does not have the freedom to explore and fulfill the needs of each student, learning will dwindle to the bubbles on Scantron™ test papers. 

25 comments:

  1. Sure wish I'd had you for a teacher somewhere along the way.

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  2. Very true, when restrictions are put in place much harder to teach and quite the dream.

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  3. I had to share that last cartoon on Facebook, because it's just that good.

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  4. Dear Susan, I am in total agreement with you. All the teaching to pass tests is worthless. Teachers who view their passion as a calling--a vocation--can reach out to those children and bring forth from them the rich ore that lies within their hearts and minds. That is, if these teachers are not restricted by those "no child left behind" rules and regulations.

    Teachers need to help children learn to think in imaginative and creative ways. Not to pass tests, but to live life with joy.

    I was blessed to have fine teachers all my life. Thanks for reminding me of just what a fine teacher is.

    Peace.

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  5. Teaching was the best and most satisfying job I ever had. I did it for 9 years. When the emotional part of it became too difficult for me, I chose to go down a different road.

    Most people remember their teachers. The largest funerals I have gone to were for teachers and coaches. Teachers make the biggest difference in children's lives.

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  6. Teachers are the some of the individuals in my community that I admire most, but I know that I will never be the teacher, even if I'm good at helping people understand things.

    Your comment about the eyes was so touching. That you took the trouble to get to know each pair of eyes and the people behind them makes you a teacher who deserved to be revered.

    :-)

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  7. My sister just got hired as a Chemistry teacher. I'm going to share this post with her.

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  8. Dear Susan, Thanks so much for commenting on my convent posting today. So many years have passed since I was a nun and yet I have clear and accessible memories of those times. I'm glad that other people enjoy reading about my convent days and find the life--as lived then--interesting. Of course, now, so much is different and I think much healthier in many ways.

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  9. Excellent post! The state of education is scary to me, just having started my little ones in the last couple years. Yet teachers continue to try to fight through with what they're given and roll with the punches.

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  10. Wow--wow to your passion and wow to the dream. I love reading about your feelings about teaching. Far too many people in society (and some teachers) take teaching for granted and yet it surely is one of the most important roles in our society!

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  11. I'll bet there are a lot of children who remember you quite fondly...

    Pearl

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!