Grand Canyons in the Classroom

Theme for March: Vastness

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

It’s always comforting to be in the presence of confident people, and this, I think, is especially true of confident teachers. A teacher is a leader, and everyone wants to be with leaders who appear self-assured, who seem quietly certain they know how to handle any situation. Being in a class with a confident teacher inspires a similar confidence in a student. You feel comforted knowing that, if the teacher is strong enough to overcome any obstacle on the path to success, perhaps you are too. To use an analogy, having a poised teacher is somewhat like spending time at a place like the Grand Canyon. Because the canyon is so overwhelmingly impressive, you — just by being near it for a few days – might begin to feel impressive, too. The quiet, immeasurable greatness of the place might discreetly pass into you and bring to light a greatness of your own.  If I’m not stretching too far,  confident teachers can be a kind of Grand Canyon for their students. Without bluster or ostentation, teachers who are in touch with their own inner strength can open up deep reserves of strength in their students. Just by being around these calm, unruffled teachers, students can begin to realize what high mountains they can climb, what wide canyons they can explore.

This morning, I was in the presence of calm, unruffled Mother Nature during my walk in Elm Grove Cemetery. The Mystic River seemed, as always, serene and self-assured, and the Canada geese in the cemetery pond were poised and silent in the sunlight.

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