The Pupil

Posted in Schooling on January 16, 2024 by ‐ 7 min read

The Pupil
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a few young girls in a classroom֎ by Nishaan ahmed֎ on Unsplash֎

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This page was last modified: January 18th, 2024

This post is part of IndieWeb Carnival֎. A project helping motivate people to write more on their personal websites. This month’s host is me πŸ₯° and the topic was ‘Positive Internalization’֎.

This post is also part of Agora Road Travelogue - Jan֎. A project attempting to encourage individuals to both write and exercise ownership over their content.

Those Who Can’t

Over the holidays, I received an email from a Lainchan Webring֎ neighbor, Slushbin (֎, asking about the teaching profession, as they were considering it for a potential career. Honestly, the entirety of my thoughts on that warrant its own blog post but, this one ain’t it. No, unfortunately for Slushbin, this post is about a tangent our correspondence inspired.

You see, in responding to Slushbin’s questions, I began to think about: “What makes a teacher successful?” The quick and dirty answer (because this isn’t our topic) is, imo, perseverance; especially at the start. Being a new teacher can be hard, it certainly was for me. My first 2 years were absolute train-wrecks, every one of my lessons were beat into me at the “dear school of experience”֎.

A common first-year lesson is that of your romantic idealist fantasies֎, anatomically found on the surface of one’s buttocks, having a series of cordial meetings with the firm belt of reality. Fun Fact: β€œOh, my sweet summer child"֎ is embossed֎ on the leather! πŸ˜ƒ It is a dispiriting, yet generally necessary, learning. That those fanciful daydreams are the mythical exception, not the rule; and you either make peace with that, or quit.

Well, visitor… I don’t know if it’s that my lashings weren’t hard enough, or because I’m a “New” Romantic֎ (dat 1’s 4 u, James 😘֎), but I still suffer from some of those whimsical reveries. And, today, at the risk of condemning Slushbin to punishment not seen in educational institutions since… uff, yikes, this morning?֎ We’re gonna go for a stroll, through teaching’s Wonderland.

Down the Rabbit-Hole

I talked about the successful teacher earlier. My definition of success for that model is very pragmatic, and instructor-centered; basically, surviving == success, akin to being rather low on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs֎. Here in Wonderland 🎩 though, they scoff at the successful teacher; like, imagine not being able to teach? Couldn’t. Be. Me.

  • All of my students are angels.
  • My lesson plans are auto-magically generated and infused into my brain every morning, courtesy of my employer-mandated, “Open”֎AI-entwined, government-subsidized Neuralink; if I let it show me ads while I sleep, it does the grades too!
  • And, ofc, I have the most supportive admin / parents in the multiverse. πŸ™ƒ

No. They don’t even acknowledge successful teachers around these parts πŸ’…. What they spend their excess time on is philosophizing, about “The Great Teacher”. Unsurprisingly, consensus at their demented tea parties appears eternally elusive:

  • “Is it the one who impacts the largest quantity of students?”
  • “Perhaps it’s they who impacted an individual student’s life the most dramatically?”
  • “Hogwash! It’s the one who is capable of reaching ANY student!”

It’s best not to pay the people here much mind (one of them is literally a hare). Yet, their madness isn’t without its source. In education, a lot of energy, time and money πŸ™„, is spent on reflection. For example: Consultants, who can’t recall the last time they were in a classroom (if ever), ride in on their white horse, spout their self-made jargon֎ of the week, point in “greatness’s” ever-shifting direction, pick-up their (large) paycheck on the way out, and maybe meetup with admin afterwards for their onanistic back-patting session.

“It’s not a story the Jedi would tell you.”

“So, greatness doesn’t exist then?” You mean, of the kind they were selling us back there? No, dear reader; or at least I haven’t run into it. But there is something I’ve come across, something that only happens in this twisted arcadia. You can call it great if you want, though I liken it more to a chemical reaction.

To put it in plainly, once you’ve got the hang of it, teaching is, really, quite mundane. Once in a blue moon though, like a brushing of flint and steel, there’s a chance you’ll catch a spark. The first one, you’ll probably rub your eyes and tell yourself you’re going to bed early (you won’t). But after spotting it a few times, you’ll begin to f-e-e-l a small jolt of electricity.

Settle down, Static Shock֎, you aren’t joining the Justice League anytime soon. Have you noticed yet? How random it is? Sometimes weak, sometimes stronger, sometimes brief, sometimes a little longer… Feels good, right? Don’t worry now, it’s not addictive. But I’d be wary of any proclaiming that they’ve got its “secret formula”֎.

How could they? NO-ONE can compel planets to align. The gall they have to take credit for Mother Nature’s perfect storms: The right student(s), alongside the right teacher, with the right attitudes, sharing the right rapport, possessing the right knowledge, at the right time, in the right place, under the right conditions, exploring the right topics… Just a couple of those elements coinciding momentarily and– zap! Magic ✨. Small manifestations of it; blips in reality.

The Rogue Wave

But we haven’t come all this way for some flickers, yo. Nah. We’re here for: The Big One. It exists… I’ve SEEN it. I don’t believe in it. I’ve touched it; I don’t believe in it. I’ve tasted it, I have breathed it, I have known it in the deepest core of my being. And it is as possible for YOU, as it was for me–

The (Great) Convergence!

Now, I don’t presume to know what yours would be like, traveler. But mine?

I remember… Sincerity. A genuine smile. A pure curiosity. A palpable, transparent receptiveness. A beautiful tenacity. A grateful grace. I ‘member, at times, not feeling like the teacher, but the pupil; inspired, like a serpent that FINALLY devoured its tail.

~ ~ ~

This job… It’s a siren, no doubt. Capable of sinking you in a myriad of ways. But that sweet sound֎ you hear, when it initially beckons, isn’t just a trap. Its hymn holds true…

Even, if only, one sporadic, fleeting moment at a time.

Contributors: George Bernard Shaw֎ –> Man and Superman [#1֎ & #2֎] –> “those who can’t do, teach”֎ | Serial Experiments Lain֎ –> Lainchan֎ –> Yukinu֎ –>֎ | Garson O’Toole֎ –> Benjamin Franklin֎ –> Poor Richard’s Almanack֎ | Romanticism֎ | George R. R. Martin֎ –> A Game of Thrones֎ / Game of Thrones֎ | The Leather Dictionary֎ | Taylor Swift֎ –> 1989֎ –> New Romantics֎ | Elizabeth Gershoff֎ | Lewis Carroll֎ –> Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland [#1֎ & #2֎] –> Down the rabbit hole֎ –> Alice֎ –> Hatter֎ –> March Hare֎ –> Alice in Wonderland֎ | Abraham Maslow֎ | “Open"AI֎ | Elon Musk֎ –> Neuralink֎ | Multiverse֎ | Andy Allan֎ | George Lucas֎ –> Star Wars֎ –> Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith֎ –> The Tragedy of Darth Plagueis the Wise֎ | Arcadia֎ | DC Comics֎ –> Justice League֎ | Stephen Hillenburg֎ –> SpongeBob SquarePants֎ | Rogue wave֎ | Big One֎ | Osho֎ –> Don’t Follow Me - Because I am Lost Myself֎ | Trey Parker֎ & Matt Stone֎ –> South Park֎ –> Member Berries֎ | Ouroboros֎ | Siren֎ –> Reaper Cat֎

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