I analyze streams of numbers that try to objectify the subjectivity of how much learning has taken place. Not because I am required to, nor because its results form the basis for my evaluation. I do so because I care about the success of my students and they deserve to know how they are doing. I sit in dozens of meetings with parents and share with them the strengths and weaknesses of their children, the new personalities that are starting to blossom, and tell them it will be okay because all of this is normal. Daily, I am the director of an off Broadway production as yesterday’s best friends now declare war on one another. I perform the impossible as I help a human, who is developmentally unable to experience empathy because that lobe of the brain is turned off for a few years while the body’s chemistry and physique explode in Big Bang proportions, suddenly understand what another human in the same helpless state is feeling.
I unapologetically geek out when someone sees the interconnectedness of functions and proportions. I unashamedly express my wonder in the universe around me, hoping those within the sound of my voice jump the barrier of content memorization and leap into the abyss of learning because it’s fun. I joyfully listen to students get things wrong without embarrassment because I know I will celebrate their accomplishments when they persevere through the struggle. I join in learning experiences that fall outside my expertise because I want to model what it means to be a learner.
I accept the uncomfortable hug from the one who suddenly feels appreciated. I become the only listening ear another will ever have while I help him connect with his peers. I spot the ones who are emotionally ahead of their classmates and possess caring hearts and enlist them to help the unappreciated and the unconnected.
I teach. What’s your superpower?