What was the duty of the teacher if not to inspire? - Bharati Mukherjee
Friday, August 28, 2015
This could be the last time, maybe the last time, I don't know (the Rolling Stones)
This is (probably) the last post on my recent Year 12 outdoor education trip to Tongariro National Park. Maybe. I don't know.
Recently, I read an interesting article about teaching. The article cited a passage from David Whyte's book “Consolations” which I quite liked:
“Work, among all its abstracts, is actually intimacy, the place where the self meets the world…[it] is the inside made into the outside…we stay alive and our work stays alive.”
The article's author made the observation that 'teaching is where our beliefs in the world manifest themselves...teaching is where and how we meet the world'.
Teaching is an intimate activity. No more so than when you find yourself sharing the great outdoors with a bunch of rambunctious teenagers. Hello world!! As students, these are the times we often remember long after we've left school. They are times of heightened expectation and reward. Of staying alive in the moment. It is no different for teachers. In such circumstances our work stays alive!
At crucial times, some students around me on the 20 kilometre traverse found they had to draw on hidden reserves to will themselves forward. Some staff did so as well. No one found it easy.
One way or another, however, everybody made it.
Isn't this the essence of what we are about as teachers? By confronting our fears, dreams, hopes, and what motivates us, we confront our inner selves. Teaching, then, is our very selves. Truly then, when we reflect on what we have learned about ourselves from this Year 12 outdoor education experience, our true self meets the world. I, for one, wouldn't have missed it for the world! Here are some of my students thoughts:
My legs were literally on fire! (Lucy)
Mentally and physically it was a challenge, but we supported each other and it was worth it (Julia)
I learnt the advantage of having long legs as I walked through the snow (Emily)
It was a big journey that really brought us together as a year group (Ella)
It was scary when you could see the sun slowly setting and we were still a million miles away from finishing (Manae)
I think I fell over in the snow 80 times as we were travelling (Hannah)
I felt like I could overcome something (Maho)
I secretly decided to sleep there (Michelle, who found it tough to keep going but keep going she did)