Sunday, December 13, 2009

My teachers

When the student is ready, the teacher appears.
- Buddist saying

Some of my teachers are obvious, such as my professors I have this semester. One in particular is so wonderful, so full of information, so funny and insightful, that I'm not close to digesting all the information in each class. This is my Foundations of Literacy class, and she is a linguist with a special interest in how young children develop language and literacy. I'm grateful to her investment in teacher training.

Some of my teachers are less obvious. Many teachers I've found online, such as Allie in Brussels, making magic in a reggio-inspired classroom at the edge of an old growth forest, and Tom in Seattle, who leads a co-operative preschool at the zoo. (Warning: when you read his prolific blog, you will want to drop everything and move to Seattle just so you can be a part of his amazing preschool.) I have many more teachers online, some of whom would not call themselves "teachers."

Some of my teachers are in the house. Like my daughter, who recently said this: "You never know what's going to happen. You don't know if your lollipop is going to be orange or pink. You don't know if you are going to Antarctica. You just don't know, so you have to be looking."

Or my son, who at this moment is playing the clarinet with a focus and pleasure that I didn't know he had. We had tried piano and we had tried choir, and he really, really didn't want to do either of those. Even though I know better than to label a young child, I started to think of him as simply not the musical kind. Then he started fourth grade this year, when they have the opportunity at our school to start instrumental music. He went to an instrument petting zoo put on by our wonderful music teachers, and he saw the clarinet and fell in love. He loves the way the parts nestle in their protective case, and then how they fit together. He loves the black and silver. He loves the sound. And then, he could not get a single note out of it for over two weeks. Doomed, I thought. But my son persevered, and he is playing MaryAnn right now and honestly I can't think of anything that sounds more beautiful. He thinks he is a music student, but he is my teacher, too.


  1. Just recently found your blog and I am enjoying your writing. Hope to read more.

  2. I read this when you posted it and was both flattered and stunned by the compliment. I've been floating through the week. Thank you so much for the kind words. I'm glad we found one another online!