Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Cage Builders & Key Throwers

I was on twitter a few weeks ago and I saw a tweet, I can't remember who by, highlighting someone else's blog.@chrisguillebeau's to be exact.  You can find it here.
The article itself was ok and had some salient points, but there was a quote on it from Hafiz, a 14th century Persian poet, that mesmerised me, in fact it made me think very deeply about my teachers and me as a teacher.
It described, in far less words than I could possibly manage, the type of person I am and, more importantly, the type of person I strive to be.
I guess that everyone has a moment that makes them evaluate what they're doing with their lives. Are things turning out the way they planned? Are they serving themselves, or others? What is the purpose that drives them to succeed?
Big questions. All of which were prompted by this poem.
I looked first at the opening line, 'The small man' and thought, is this me? Have I, as a teacher, ever done this? Have I limited children's expectations or ideals. Honestly? I have.
It's easy to do and doubtless others have done it as well.
It also made me think of the good teachers I had and why their teaching impacted on my learning. What did they do that was different? What ingredient was missing in my teaching that was prevelant in theirs? The answer was simple. Consideration of the learners' needs. They empathised rather than patronised. They encouraged rather than intimidated. In my case, they were trying to catch a 8lb fish on a 4lb line...
The remainder of the poem talks about the sage, the knowledgeable one, illuminating those who have been imprisoned. I inferred a teacher, a considerate teacher, to whom falls the task of re-engaging those who have been switched off to learning. Providing opportunity to inspire, encourage and educate. I feel that through concentrating more on what is beneficial to the children in our care, we can become the sage that Hafiz refers to. Not as the font of all knowledge disseminating it as we see fit, but as a facilitator of change, inspiring children to push out of their comfort zone and discover things that might have seemed out of reach. To lead children toward life-long learning,  not whip them into shape with the yard sticks from yesterday.
I am striving to be like Hafiz's sage. I seek to better myself and improve the quality of my teaching. I am sure that I will have slip ups, but I hope, over my career, I will unlock more potential than I imprison. So I ask, which one will you be tomorrow?

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