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what’s the difference? it’s love

April 26, 2017 , , , , , ,

Why is it that 2 people can say exactly the same thing and one has momentum and weight, and the other is just a hopeful set of words? What gives words value?

As you probably know, I love teaching. I truly love the craft of teaching, and no matter how arse-up my teaching days go, I will, inevitablyfind myself getting curious about what went wrong in the same way a baker prods their deflated corpse of a cake looking for answers. I joyfully post-mortem my way through days of teaching with a sense of discovery and wonder like a toddler through mud; sometimes painfully, sometimes with dogged determination, always with a desire to understand.

I believe this is what Liz Gilbert refers to as the “shit sandwich”; what flavour “shit sandwich” are you willing to endure to live a good life? What hardships and struggles will you put up with for your craft of choice? Well, mine’s the marking, the behaviour-mangement, the trying to figure out the best way to positively affect the young people I teach.

Most of all, I have a fascination for the balance between empowerment of young minds, aspiring for excellence, and pure grit. I think that quality learning is joyful, but also “academically excellent”. I don’t think there is any substitute for accuracy and excellence in learning. So my days are whole-heartedly squandered trying to figure out how my classes tick, dissecting the decimation at the end of the day, and consuming Tim Tams to fuel this self-inflicted martyrdom.

But I realised something very real and immediate as I was thinking about this; the difference is LOVE. I don’t think I’m the most fabulous teacher in the world. There are loads more amazing who inspire me threefold. I certainly love what I do, I excel at connecting with students, and teaching at a level of excellence. But there’s better…there always is! That’s what make our learning as teachers interesting.

But when a student hears a teacher give instructions, they are listening for the tiny little nuances that say that they are seen, heard and deeply valued. They listen for your care. They look to see if you love them. They have crap detectors that are more powerful than Russian nuclear satellite dishes. And they know. They know.

I have often wondered why teenagers twice the size of me should listen to the tiny 5-foot me, why choirs that look ridiculous conducted by me should follow, and why there are days that all the organisation and excellence that I aim to give are just “ordinary”, and what catapults things into the the “extraordinary”? Those unexpected moments of flow + synergy where rapport meets trust meets learning.

The difference is love.

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