Friday, November 30, 2012

Before you judge...

At the bidding of my father I am writing again. I am unsure for how long I will continue this blog. Lately some people have encouraged me to write more; for me this alone is reason enough to put pen to paper.

I remember hearing once from an English teacher that it is best to write one's title last after one cuts, snips, trims, and squeezes every loose end from one's writing and the heart of the writing beats stronger, louder. I suppose this is logical if you are undecided about which direction your writing will go. In this instance I know what I want to write.

The maxim is paraphrased like this: Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes.

If I may offer only one piece of advice for the rest of my life it will be this. Respect your teachers, respect your children's teachers, respect all teachers, everywhere. And especially respect them if you yourself have never spent a single solitary moment in front of students.

Teaching is not easy and the problems teachers face extend beyond the classroom. Furthermore there are no easy, quick sutures to sew up the gaping wounds which some teachers face. Parents' complaints (or the lack of parents altogether) can be a greater issue than anything one meets with a student. Add on top of that the pressure to close the achievement gap, or the absolute and utter lack of support from a director, or the students themselves who are "bored" only because they have assimilated into a dullness and have never had anyone explain or champion or be a role model for the virtues that come from cultivating one's own consciousness and intellect. Have they never heard of Descartes? I think therefore I am!!!!

Before you accuse a teacher of giving up on his or her students or not trying "hard enough," before you speak falsely and prove yourself ignorant and say "those who can, do; and those who can't, teach," and before you suggest that you would be the best teacher, consider the scope and the scale of the profession. Consider what is asked of teachers everyday. Everyday we teachers are locked in a Sisyphean task. We teach, and we push and carry and roll the boulder to the top of the mountain every single day. But what follows when neither nobody nor nothing waits at the top to hold the boulder in place? I ask you: what follows when the student or the parents or guardians or the community cannot (will not? is/are unable to?) support the cultivation of its future generations?

Of course I never said or thought for moment that teaching would be easy. I have taught in other places to highly motivated students. That job is like training a dog to run or training a sea otter to swim. Motivated students love to learn and truly enjoy and value the process of challenging themselves and nurturing their minds. Yet again, be careful what you say about teachers and the profession. Let me put it in simpler terms. Do I go into your place of business and critique you? Absolutely not. Wouldn't that be arrogant and pretentious and ignorant? This logic can be affixed to anything. I don't know the first thing about what it takes to be a director of an organization. Consequently you can understand and you would cry out how presumptuous of me it would be to go into a CEO's office and seriously suggest that I can do a better job.

Before you judge someone, walk a mile in their shoes.

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