The best part about being a teacher is that we don’t spring into being from Zeus’ head, complete, perfect, Athena-wise. We evolve, we change, we shift, we become. Not that I don’t adore Athena. It’s just that we are lucky to spend our teaching years stretching and growing instead of atrophying. We are not just the product of our own student experiences, our teacher prep programs, or our current schools: we expand to hold what we hear, see, read, experience every single day.
When we become aware of this process, this evolution, we are responsible for passing it on to our students. We must nurture the curious within ourselves and within their souls. Oddly, once we fully awake, we find that our vocabulary is hardly sufficient to describe our thoughts.
And yet, we rarely sit and ponder, groping for that perfect word. Nope. We select an honest one, a grounded one, and dance onward, helping our students to
the object, the lives, the moments around them.
As we help our students to look closely at life, things, ideas, we must give them opportunities to write. And write a lot. We help them to root their writing in physical detail. In finding the perfect concrete hummingbird of an image that illustrates the tiniest, most elusive, sometimes too fleeting thought. This provides our students with the tools and strategy to explore Truth
- in human emotions
- in natural elements
- in discrepancies
- across boundaries
- in our homes
- in our relationships
- in our deepest, darkest thoughts
When we teach them to explore, to write, to contemplate the world around them, we teach them to be lenient — with themselves and with others. When we teach them to explore truth without judgment, to play with a sense of wonder without of a sense of rule-making or rule-breaking, we teach them to embrace life.
Note: thanks to Bill Woolum and his thoughts regarding leniency and the writing life.