ERIC Number: EJ703112
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2004-May-1
Reference Count: N/A
Perfect Day: A Meditation about Teaching
Phi Delta Kappan, v85 n9 p680 May 2004
When asked by a student in a seminar recently if he could remember a perfect day teaching elementary school, the author writes memories of one he distinctly remembers because he gained new insight into teaching on that particular day. After returning to work following the devastating loss of a younger 19 year-old brother in a car crash, he resumed teaching in September not knowing if he would be able to manage the challenges of teaching, and resolution of his grief. He tells how this perfect day of teaching had much to do with grieving the loss of his brother. While teaching a unit on autumn, and interacting with the students, he began to realize that autumn leaves are a perfect metaphor for life, death, letting go, and the transition from darkness to light. As his students played enthusiastically in the crimson and gold falling leaves in the school yard, one small boy asked , "Do you know why leaves float to the ground?" he answered that he did not and he continued, "It is God's kindness." He began to see his grief as a leaf storm in his mind, and began to envision his grief swirling around him like the leaves in the school yard, and eventually, gently floating to the ground to nourish the trees which will be reborn again in the spring. He remembers this as his perfect teaching day, because this was a day when one of his small students taught him a life-long lesson about letting go, and he began to feel as if he too could take those first tentative steps toward letting go and finally accepting his loss and grief. The central point of his perfect teaching day was the fact that the end product of learning is something more than the sum total of observed lessons and spoken words. Teaching and learning incorporate spirit. He began to realize that when he is able to approach his work in the spirit of trust and belief that children know things, and are often quite wise, he is the most effective. Sometimes, it is the teachers who become the students.
Descriptors: Personal Narratives, Grief, Teaching Experience, Transformative Learning, Learning Experience, Preschool Teachers, Kindergarten
Phi Delta Kappa International, Inc., 408 N. Union St., P.O. Box 789, Bloomington, IN 47402-0789. Web site: http://www.pdkintl.org.
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California