Friday, May 8, 2009

This one is for the Teachers

When you are in front of a group of people you get, like actors, afraid of forgetting your lines. Teachers have more than just lines to remember. They need to remember the lesson order, activities, talking points, and questions. The first thing I was told about college hockey was don't trip over the blue line when your name is announced. Big strong men afraid. Everyone has fears but I challenge myself each and every time I see something that brings fear. I challenge myself to not be afraid. It is innate and all great teachers are great at looking at an incident as a chance to face what otherwise is frightening. This innate characteristic brings out the "I don't even see fear" side of me. I take fear as a different feeling completely. I take it as a passionate moment that only happens when your alive. I love to take on more responsibility in the presence of fear. Give me the opportunity to topple the obstacle. George Washington felt that way and he lost more battles than he won. People saw him as a failure but he didn't crack under certain peril.
It is a uniquely unexplainable feeling but I will tell you what happens. Teach a lesson on quadratic equations and create non-problems. Build up the lesson by scaffolding around the mistakes that kids make. If you are factoring don't tell them to write Not Factorable. Tell them to keep going and reply to the question about factoring with, "not factorable is not an answer it is a concept". It very well is factorable but not with whole numbers is the correct answer. Now look at the new Star Trek movie and tell me Captain Kirk isn't the epitome of a fearless man. In the latest installment Kirk beats the unbeatable college test. No one passes the drill because it is meant to show that men are meant to face fear in life. This is like factoring. No one can factor x^2+2x+5=y... I want students to, not fail, but realize there is something more. Hear this strange concept. At Kirk's college, you are meant to fail in the face of fear. Feel the fear and realize you will not make it. Teaching professionally has helped me to see something I have inside. I am near sighted and far sighted when faced with insurmountable obstacles. That is why I am able to have the character I have. Character, to me, makes looking at fear as a part of life possible. Character is doing the right thing when no one is looking and no one will ever find out you did the right thing. Kirk and Washington believed this.
I do my homework and get ready for each day planning what will happen. I think everyone should plan their day: teachers and students and accountants and insurance agents and athletes and administrators and CEO's.

I leave my cell phone in the car and the world behind me at times. When I go into a movie theatre it is to be taken away and sometimes it takes me right back here.

Eric Grasso

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