This was written for #30DaysReflectResist Day 5: What do I love about teaching?
I love working with ideas and language. I love publishing… finding ways for students to display what they’ve created from their understanding: a video, a magazine, a debate, a book trailer, a dictionary, a website. I love that there is a synergy between student and teacher. I love bringing what I care about to our work together: rhetoric, beauty and refinement of language, working with ideas, graphic design, art, music, laughter, making connections, constructing meaning, emerging agency. I love guiding them in adolescence, working with them to consider their experiences and their decisions. I love helping them to consider and awaken to new possibilities. I love being able to offer unconditional positive regard and to mirror back to them their own wholeness and beauty. I love nurturing their emerging ideas of self and other. I love the privilege of witnessing this moment in their becoming. I love the opportunity to continually grow in my practice and am often filled with joy at new discoveries and new places to go. I love making connections and seeing new ways in to what we do together.
As I write this, I am reminded of a recent twitter conversation I had about the definition of professionalism in teaching. My conversation partner felt that passion in teaching detracted from ideas of professionalism… that while it was fine to be passionate, she rejected it as part of the definition of professional, it was in some way heroic mythology that actually detracted from a precise definition of craft. I didn’t disagree that one can be a professional without passion.. but what a dry practice that is…. diligent with a detached interest in a job well done… robotic… more adequate than phoning it in but less than being fully present. I prefer a different definition that may not be possible to everyone who decides to teach. I don’t know. But, those who are passionately interested in their work are resonating at a higher level with it. I hope I always feel this way. If I were giving guidance to someone considering teaching… I would say, the highest form of practice is doing what you love. Do that, if you can.