Copyright © 1997, Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.
Wed, 28 May 1997
I just came in from a pre-dawn walk. Well, it wasn't really a walk. With the high humidity hanging around after yesterday's thunder storms with the weight of a wet bath towel, it seemed more like more than a few struggling strides in a pool. Anyway, it was a hard walk, a struggle of a walk. My weather forecasting, arthritic neck was acting up because of the low pressure; my muscles were tight and achy; my attitude sucked. I really didn't have it today. But, it was nevertheless a good walk though by far not one of my best. And I thought that the real quality of my walks are not when I feel good and they are good, but the quality of the walks when they are bad and I feel yukky.
As I suffered and endured and persevered, that thought got me to thinking about a request for some kind of motivating statement an e-mail colleagues to get her through as the term winds down. I had rattled something off, but wasn't really satisfied with what I had offered. I was sincere, but it had the taste of pablum.
I think I would tell her now that it seems to me that our teaching is like my walk this morning. Teaching not about the quality of our good teaching when our game is on, but about the quality of our bad teaching when our game is off.
Our love of people, our committment to those who are thrown in our way, our passion for and good feelings about teaching are not really defined by those "good times" when things are easy, when you can do it in your sleep, when you're loose and in the groove, when they are going great, when you're alive and fresh and "on," when everything is running smoothly and on all pistons, when techniques are clicking, when you've got it and the students are "getting it," when we want to hug and kiss the students, when all is well with the classroom. No, good teaching is really about the quality and committment and passion and feelings of our "bad" teaching. It's about how well we do during those times when things are rough, when you're dragging and off and don't have it, when you're tight and out of sync, when nothing seems to be working, when the students aren't getting it and don't seem to want it, when you want to spank and shake them, and when you want to chuck it all.
Make it a good day. --Louis-- Louis Schmier (912-333-5947) email@example.com Department of History /~\ /\ /\ Valdosta State University /^\ / \ / /~ \ /~\__/\ Valdosta, Georgia 31698 / \__/ \/ / /\ /~ \ /\/\-/ /^\___\______\_______/__/_______/^\ -_~ / "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\ _ _ / don't practice on mole hills" -\____
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