Effortless English Archives

Automatic English For The People

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Timidity

by AJ

"The old and infirm and the timid, of whatever age or sex, thought most of sickness, and sudden accident and death; to them life seemed full of danger,-- what danger is there if you don't think of any-- and they thought that a prudent man would carefully select the safest position.... The amount of it is, if a man is alive, there is always danger that he may die, though the danger must be allowed to be less in proportion as he is dead-and-alive to begin with. A man sits as many risks as he runs."

--Thoreau

Such is the mindset of most teachers. They too think mostly of "safety" and "security". They too worry about danger... though the danger they fret about has to do with losing their job.... or other threats to their reputation and finances.

They too carefully select the safest position. They obediently follow "policy", regardless of how ridiculous it may be. They stick to the required text, the established curriculum, the accepted standards of behavior. They rarely fail because they never try anything risky.

After decades of exposure to such teachers, most students adopt the same stance. They shun risk. They shun initiative. They are ever calculating the safest course.... continually angling to meet expectations.

As such, they often seem more dead than alive. Where is the enthusiasm? Where is the love of learning, growth, life?

These folks dont realize that they are following the riskiest course of all-- one that deadens the mind and crushes the heart. They are selling their vitality for a false sense of security.

There's a deeper issue here, one that has nothing to do with education. Its a question of what kind of life we hope to lead. Will we forever slink in the shadows, cynically "covering our asses"? Will we forever deny our wilder impulses? Will we exterminate all that makes us unique, special, interesting, alive? Are there not higher principles than obedience and "professionalism"?

Teaching (or any other job, for that matter) cannot be separated from the rest of our lives. This is a lie. If we spend 4-8 hours a day doing dull things, playing it safe... we will inevitably become dull human beings. We are what we continually do.

How will you spend the bulk of your day? What kind of thoughts will dominate your mind?

Fear? Routine? Obedience? Policy & Procedure? Security?

Or will you choose a richer life full of love, enthusiasm, risk, play, vitality, independence, learning, loss, and laughter?

There's more at stake than your career.

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