My sister works for a university and is also a photographer. She couldn’t put a price on her talent and she talks more about her clients’ reactions when they see their photos more than her photography skills, technique and style. I find it both cute and admirable. I get it: how can we set a price on something we love doing? I think she enjoys photography because it gives her the amazing power to make people experience a momentary lapse of reason and sadness, making them feel genuine happiness and admiration…not for the photos, but for themselves. And I think the more amazing thing is that she gives them something that can last forever…not the photos, but the memories. On the same note, I just realized that I love what I do, which is teaching, because I feel that it gives me the amazing opportunity to do something to put these little people in awe….not about me, but of the world and themselves. When we teachers give our students the avenue to question, to wonder, to argue, to voice out their opinions, to discover, to find out for answers and solutions, to help them act upon their learning, we utilize this great gift of creativity and goodness in us. All of us can teach. Gone are the days when teachers stand in front of the class to give information…for an hour or so. Trends in education brought us to a higher level of teaching where teachers listen, provoke and establish relationship with learners.
It’s interesting how my crafts show two sides of my personality. I’ve always felt that my love for music and performance are acts of self-indulgence,selfish. I play the drums and make music to please myself, to express what I feel through rhythm, to make myself feel good. I don’t care if my
music has some following or not, I only care about how sacred the creative process and the piece itself are. I take pride with the music and I’ll never apologize for being this kind of an artist. But with teaching, it’s completely the other way around. I find that the students are reasonable critics; I find wisdom in their random thoughts and humour. They give valuable suggestions and I believe that they are the most credible people to judge what I do. I listen to them, I believe them, and I take them seriously. I feel bad when I feel unproductive with them. I apologize and I pray to have better days. I think of ways to help them reach their potentials, help them enjoy something they may find difficult. Nevertheless, both playing music and teaching bring me fulfillment and inspiration. I guess selfless or not, when we do things that help us attain creativity, mastery and generosity, we ourselves are put in awe because we feel connected to something larger then we are: life, possibilities, hope, and creation. It’s awesome.
One of my students is improving with her studies. She asked me two days ago if she really improved and I said yes and that I’m proud of her. She couldn’t believe it, she giggled and hugged my arm. We just finished our unit on poetry and I read aloud some poems my kids wrote. We laughed and laughed for like 15 minutes because of how hilarious our poems turned out to be. We re-visited their pre-assessments and I heard the kids say they’ve definitely improved. They begged and begged me to read aloud their poems…even they couldn’t believe how funny they’ve become. They’re learning about angles and points out every angle they see around them…the board, they necks, the letters of their names. My student just shared to me that he met a family lawyer yesterday because his parents are getting divorced. He told me it’s a very difficult moment for him. I talked to him and told him to think about things very well because he is very much capable of making good decisions for himself and his family. I could go on and on about what’s going on in the classroom. It’s a very exciting, dynamic, emotional, intellectual and fun place.
As a musician, an expat teacher and traveller, I may feel lonely at times living in a foreign country, and I do feel lost with new songs and genre coming out. But I know I’ve found my best friends in my students and I continuously experience the best relationships with grounded, passionate musicians, teachers and strangers I meet. I don’t know how long I’ll be playing music, how long I’d teach and travel, but I know I am doing something that gives me the opportunity for endless exploration and adventure. And it’s awesome.