We have the choice of life or death, love or fear, in each moment. And we bear the responsibility for that choice in each moment…we set out to be better ourselves, only to find legions of reason to break our commitment to health. We say it is too difficult to make the hard choice today. And yet the obstacles in our path are the path.
-Rolf Gates, Meditations from the Mat: Daily Reflections on the Path of Yoga
Day 21 – Theodore Roethke wrote: “What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible.” Teaching is just so. Impossible. And yet, we are drawn to it. Teachers continue to make small, exhausting choices each day to teach their students, to give themselves to their profession, their calling.
I come to my mat, to my workout, to crossfit, to my blog, to my dance practice, each morning prior to work. I go through a series of seemingly insignificant rituals in order to find the balance between effort and ease in an effort to bring this into the classroom. Relax. Breathe. Feel.
After a long Monday spent NOT being in a classroom, hearing the battle cry for teachers to step out of their classrooms and into administration (on the part of the district) as “emerging” leaders, after dissecting close reading for most of this school year (a subject I can easily detail its theoretical and political underpinnings), and being one of the so-called beacons of democracy on a committee amidst hostility and chicanery, I’m left depleted and a bit jaded. It was a grueling 13 hour day, all about teaching, with nothing at all to do with teaching. And yet, Rolf asks: “What happens if we trust life just this once? What happens if we have faith?”
So much of our profession is politicized, criticized, ostracized, and denuded. We allow others to walk all over us by refusing to acknowledge that impossibilities are what we specialize in. Never has there been a time that I can recall when there have been as many obstacles in our teaching paths, and yet we step off our mats and into our classrooms each day. At the heart of teaching is the art of teaching, not the science, or the theory, or the politics, although these play a part. All the big players have come to the table (while the teachers are in the classroom doing the real stuff). Maybe we should just trust teachers just this once? What happens if we have faith? Think of the impossibilities.