The Hidden Picture
Have you ever looked at one of those optical illusions with a hidden picture in it? You need to totally relax your eyes and try not to focus too hard on one particular part of the picture. If you can put your eyes out of focus just enough, a picture kind of jumps out at you. Suddenly, you can focus very clearly on the picture hidden within. It’s an amazing thing when you can see that picture and when it clicks you want everyone around you to see it too because it’s just so exciting.
This is why I teach.
Each one of my students is a complicated, seemingly unfocused picture with a very clear and much more interesting picture hidden inside. Sometimes it takes a long time and I need to look from many different angles but once their picture comes clear I want the world to see it. Each picture is completely different but there is something familiar, a common thread, that makes them that much more spectacular when they share the same wall space.
I am definitely a people person. I love to make connections with people and there is no better venue for doing that than in a school community. The fact that my students make connections in unconventional ways just makes my time with them that much more interesting. The optical illusion picture looks messy and confusing at first. Just like the school community, if you nurture your individual relationships it starts to look more familiar and predictable.
I’d love to say that I teach because I want to change lives, better our future, etc. The truth is that I get so much out of it personally. My classroom is a huge experiment in give and take and I feel that as much as I give to my students, I get back from them multiplied times ten. I get so fired up when I unlock some mysterious learning piece in my students. I simply cannot control my enthusiasm and I guess I’ve turned into an enthusiasm addict because I just want more. When I look at those pictures I really need to focus on not focusing. In my classroom I see the most incredible learning happen when I can relax and not worry about things like testing, observations, and recording data.
My classroom is the place where I can be in charge and have no idea what is going to happen all at the same time. I’m always searching for the moment when each picture comes clear. Sometimes it appears one day but then changes the next and I
have to get to start over with the process of looking at the whole illusion at once. I just need to trust my eyes, be patient, and see the beauty in every picture.
So this is why I teach. What is your why?