It's back to school season!
This is the first fall in 27 years that I'm not diving into another year of teaching.
Every teacher knows the rhythm of summer to fall - of closing out last year and preparing for this year. Truthfully, I have been a little lost without that familiar pattern!
With September's arrival, my thoughts have turned to the teachers. My colleagues. My comrades.
It may not always seem so, but the education of children is sacred.
The responsibility of teaching any age of young ones can be overwhelming.
The years go fast.
The bodies of subject matter are immense.
Some students grasp quickly. Others struggle.
And the teacher is expected to provide for them all. It is a daunting task.
There are many methods and curricula. Some teaching approaches reflect more about the preferences of the teacher than about the receptivity of the children. The dispensing of information - of facts and events and equations and definitions - is not true education. It is partof learning - but it isn't the core of it. The determined patience of the teacher can make almost any method effective.
The humble teacher, knowing the weight of the responsibility as well as the sheer privilege, will listen well to what is said and what can't be put into words. He/she will look into their eyes - trying to see into their hearts - seeking to discern what they can take in instead of just planning what he/she has to dish out. Flexing the schedule, tweaking the materials, refining the curricula - that is the hardest work of teaching.And that is often where the learning happens - for both teacher and student.
The process of teaching can be messy and confusing and seem not holy in the least. The days of teaching are often routine and mundane. But that is where the holy is - in the steady hopefulness of doing it all again. The lessons, the readings, the calculations, the scribbling out and the erasing away. The smiling and the groaning. The boredom and the wonder. All those days add up.
The daily steadiness communicates to the children that they matter.
That they are worth the effort and the learning is worth their effort. Teaching and learning is truly a collaboration. Teaching doesn't happen unless learning does.