Friday, April 13, 2018

Why teachers are willing to look foolish

Here he was . . .
A grown man.

Inside a bubble.

Knocked flat by an 8th grader during a spirited game of Bubble Ball Soccer.

Legs splayed, students cheering.

Not everyone is meant to be a teacher. And this is one of the reasons why.

When you are a teacher you are willing to become vulnerable, exposed.

When you are a teacher it is you and twenty-two or twenty-seven or thirty-three students. Every minute. Every hour. Every day. For hours a day those faces look to you for guidance, for direction, for a way forward.

The faces of those students will let you know when you are awful at your job. Depending on their age they may even tell you when you are awful.

Vulnerable. Exposed.

But they will also erupt in joy, a smile spread across their face, a sparkle in their eye when the struggle pays off, when understanding comes, when their vision becomes reality.

To be a teacher means that you are willing to admit when you don't know an answer, to talk about how you struggle to find just the right word to finish your essay, how you get scared when you try to learn something new.

When you are a teacher you are willing to express your enthusiasm for history or solving complex problems or visiting museums. When you are a teacher you talk passionately about why you learn, how you learn, your longing to learn.

And at times your students will not understand. But, in time, you hope they will. 

Vulnerable. Exposed.

And you are willing to get into a bubble and play soccer knowing that you will look foolish because you understand that vulnerability breaks down barriers, open doors, cements relationships that can, at some point, lead to learning. And for that you are willing to be  . . .

Vulnerable. Exposed.