21 November 2011

Teaching with Energy

Whenever I need a refresher on my motivation to teach, I catch up on reading student letters. It's a Monday and I'm tired. I have emails to catch up on. I have plans to make. I have grades to enter. Yet, for the last twenty minutes or so, I've been answering student letters.

And there it is - this is why I teach.

I read a letter from a student telling me she just finished reading a biography of Anne Frank. She did a fantastic job describing the plight of Anne's struggle through the holocaust, including details that would make your eyes water. But, the most gripping sentence of her letter came when she answered the prompt to describe why [Anne] is important, why [her] story should be told at all. This is a paraphrase of what she wrote:

"In the book, Anne heard that it would be important for individual stories to be told so that the holocaust wouldn't be reduced to a bunch of stats."

I about jumped out of my seat - quite a feat for me any time before 9am.

Hurriedly, I wrote out my response. "This is exactly why Literature is important! The best is intended to bridge the gaps between each generation, race, and culture to ensure we make connections with one another! In this way we can stand up for each other, advocating for one another during times that are evil; and maybe we can avert another holocaust."

Today, I'm teaching with energy.

And it doesn't matter that this student is the exception, not the rule. It doesn't matter that the very next letter I read was horrible. It doesn't matter that the first class I taught today was difficult because of a couple students who won't follow directions.

Steering one student toward her incredible potential to think, and maybe someday to write, is all worth the other junk. In fact, it allows me to unleash an energy on those difficulties I didn't have before.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Hey! Thanks for joining the IWSG. Just click on the image and 'save image as' to your hard drive as an image. Then you can upload it to your blog as a picture.
Look forward to your first post in December!

cleemckenzie said...

Boy, do we need you in our classrooms with our kids! Energy, intelligence and care=+++TEACHER.

Glad to connect with you. I'll be joining the Alex Cavanaugh Insecure Writers Blog Hop in Dec.

Hope to see you doing the event!

Man O' Clay said...

Thank you for your comment!

I will be joining Alex on 12/7 - I'm looking forward to it!

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI:

I had read the "Ad" portion of your blog some time ago. Tonight when I opened your blog, I noticed the ad for "New Health Solutions". It is something you might want to take a look at. The product might be fine, but the ads were women who were posed and dressed provocatively (only somewhat dressed).

Web address is: http://www.peaklife.com/?fb_lgid=3500&fb_lpid=5649&fb_itid=7736&pid=200&nid=31&sub_id=SP_160x600_Simb_Mel_1WTSA

I am not sure that the ad is what you want represented on your blog, but that is your call.

Man O' Clay said...

Thank you! I will be blocking that asap!

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