1. I have this group of pre-teens and in the teachers’ room we call them our tiger class. Last Thurs. they completely wore me out with their mischief and naughtiness, and I was quite numb for several hours after the lesson and felt like a colossal failure.
But yesterday they had completely transformed. They focused on their work and came up with amazing things. Their eyes sparkled with energy and intelligence. They acted out and guessed vocabulary with hilarity and creativity. Crazy whirling arms to show a helicopter’s blades, and fierce fangs to show Dracula. I sat at the side of the room and laughed and laughed with them. Had they transformed, or had I? Maybe both. I only know I fell in love again, with all six of them. Their shining eyes completely charm me. And they are still tigers because they’re so beautiful and alive.
2. Speaking of shining eyes, I recommend musician and motivational speaker Benjamin Zander’s speech at TED here. I’m not musical enough to follow some of the technical chord progressions he explains. But in general he’s talking about music and passion and I interpret what he says from a teacher’s standpoint. His bounding energy and way of thinking outside the box makes me feel that no problem is insurmountable.
“I have a definition of success. For me, it’s very simple. It’s not about wealth and fame and power. It’s about how many shining eyes I have around me.” –Benjamin Zander