Thursday, March 13, 2008
Teachers and Students
HA! I woke up in a pink mood today *smile*...a woman reserves the right to change her mind, hair color and blog color at any given moment! I can be fickle like that...I haven't been in a while, but it's coming back. Last night I went to my Pilates class...NEVER,never take a pilates class while recovering from bronchitis, it's all about breathing, abs and glutes. I almost passed out, had a hacking cough attack and got some killer cramps in my abs, which miraculously I have found 28 pounds later...the glutes are another story - but a woman's gotta be soft somewhere lol.
I called my mom this morning and we had a long talk. My mom is an expert on certain things and she offered up some quality advice this morning...love you Mom. And so, everyone will suffer in pink.
My all-time favorite teacher was my twelfth grade English teacher Mr.Gray. I have never tried so hard to make a man laugh in my entire life - he was the kind of man who smiled with his eyes, yet hid his smile with his gray mustache. Adorable, especially to a 17 year old girl. He was the first teacher who gave me a "B" in English and I worked my ass off to get that final "A" as my end of the year grade. We remained in contact after high school, every now and then I would return to visit him and share some of the college experience. I remember once he told me that he would have loved to have written a book about how people come in and out of our lives and touch us in ways that we never could have imagined. One brief encounter and our lives are altered in some way.
I remember writing Mr. Gray a letter about a Literature of AIDS course I was taking and telling him about an experience that touched my life tremendously. My professor had given us an assignment to go to Washington D.C. to visit the AIDS Quilt that was spread across the mall...the Quilt was spread across an area comparable to that of 20 football fields, this was in 1994 or 5. Julie and I took the subway to D.C. from College Park, had lunch, went shopping and finally made our way over to the Washington Monument, where we saw and felt raw emotion. When we had arrived the day had been partly sunny, but now the clouds were looming. As we walked around the perimeters of each individual quilt, reading the names, hobbies, passions of those who had been taken by AIDS, a voice over a loudspeaker reading name after name after name of the people represented by those quilts accompanied us. Unless you have lived this experience, you just can't even imagine the sadness.
Julie and I didn't really speak, we would just look at each other every now and then, sometimes eye contact is enough. Then, we felt the first raindrops falling. The voice over the loudspeaker made the following announcement: "WE ARE GOING INTO AN EMERGENCY DOWNPOUR SITUATION, EVERYONE NEEDS TO FOLD A QUILT AND PLACE IT IN THE PLASTIC BAG THAT YOU WILL FIND UNDER THE QUILTS!" There were about five of us standing around one quilt, each of us reacted and we folded "our" quilt together, then we kind of looked at each other with adrenaline racing and an embarrassed smile. I turned my head to see what the others had done, I still get chills thinking about this...The entire AIDS quilt, 20 football fields long, had been placed in bags and all I could see was a bright green lawn dotted with plastic bags. Someone started clapping and everyone joined in under the torrential downpour until we were all clapping, whistling, cheering and soaking wet. Freaking unbelievably emotional moment - the kind of moment that gives you a new perspective on humanity and what we are capable of, not only as individuals, but as individuals working together.
Mr. Gray died of AIDS complications. I was in Italy and missed his funeral.
But, what he taught me about people coming in and out of our lives and the impact they leave is still with me. The impact can be negative, and we learn a lesson from that. Then again, there are those people who touch our lives in such a beautiful way that we are able to learn and grow.
In Aidan's blog, she wrote:
Giving birth to a child does not automatically mean that someone is competent to raise children, and people who have not given birth to children are also qualified to raise and care for children. People who have not given birth to a child can and do contribute a great deal to Deaf children's upbringing. It is not about measuring who is mother enough and who is not mother enough. People who have this kind of attitude who make negative comments are looking for a way to shut up the people who are passionate about children's futures.
I agree with this statement, and as a teacher, I have seen that many parents are not so great at raising their kids or identifying their needs. Each individual child is different and a good mother, like a good teacher, recognizes this fact.
Jean Boutcher's comment really disturbed me and I found the wording highly inflammatory:
This is a good example. The UNthinkable or "not smart" oralists learn to sneer from their audistic masters. The thinkable (intelligent) oralists do not sneer.
The idea of a teacher as an "audistic master" is tormenting for me to comprehend, yet Mishka and others..see Paotie's Blog have experienced this treatment to such a point as to use this term.
The job of a teacher is as delicate and should be as unconditional as that of a mother, any professional who works with children should be conscious of this privileged role.
Some people are born teachers while some people remain students their entire lives. There is a major difference between preaching and teaching. Learning is an ongoing process and true teachers recognize that they will always be students. I have been blessed to have had some exceptional teachers.