Sunday, March 5, 2017

#SOL17 Day 5 - Hogwarts Teaching Part III

Here's the last of my three #SOL17 posts reflecting on the teaching qualities of three Hogwarts professors. A podcast titled "Teach Like They Do at Hogwarts," created by Chuck Poole (@cpoole27) at Teachonomy.com described three teaching qualities and challenged teachers to reflect on the qualities within themselves. (Click here if you want to give it a listen.)

Severus Snape. Arguably the most complicated character in the Harry Potter series. My students don't get why he's my favorite character. They can't comprehend why Slytherin house is my favorite house. Then they read the "The Prince's  Tale" in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. And they understand. Always.

The lessons from Snape are profound. He loved deeply and unconditionally. His love moved him to make remarkable sacrifices, to bravely risk himself, and ultimately changed countless lives for the better. In teaching, the same thing can happen. I - like a lot of teachers - can get stuck in the negative: not enough time, lots of pressure, blah, blah, blah. What if, instead, I could find ways to focus on my passion for this noble profession, growing the positive thoughts and working toward eliminating the negative? The podcast suggested I reflect on the why: Why do I teach?

I teach because of those kids who need me the most. You know: those ones who show me the least. I teach because I truly believe that a relationship with a child can have a profound impact on the rest of his life. I teach because I get from my students so much more than I can ever hope to give. It's really all about them. Always.

This is the mantra to which I will return when things get crazy. Crazy happens in cycles for a teacher, and it is during those times when I am least likely to notice that I'm not present in my passion that I will stop, breathe (my One Little Word for this year) and remember the WHY. I need only to look around my classroom. I am surrounded by WHY. Soon, this group of WHY will be headed off to middle school. I will no longer be surrounded by this unique group of awesome ten and eleven year olds, this team of amazing kids who surprise me each and every day. My motivation in staying present is simply that we, as teachers, are always on borrowed time with those with whom we work. For me, each group is precious. The time with them is fleeting. Seizing each and every day with joy and purpose, and with unconditional love is worth it. The sacrifice is worth it. Always.

12 comments:

  1. Breathe and why are good reminders for me too! I love learning about your interpretations of this podcast. It is always good for us to remember the why and you are right, they are all around us.

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  2. LOVE this! First, I'm a proud Slytherin---Head of House at my high school's HP club. Secondly, YES---Snape! #Always.
    Great slice--can't wait to go check out that podcast series!

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    1. I am in love with the idea of a HP club in a HS! My daughter's a freshman... maybe I'll encourage her to start one! We're both Ravenclaw.

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  4. When I first thought of teaching like Snape, I imagined his cold responses to 'know-it-all' Hermione and quickness to take 10 points from Gryffindor. But I loved this take on him, and the reminder of how important love is in teaching. Like you said, 'crazy happens in cycles,' and it's grounding to remember at those times why I teach. When I feel overwhelmed by tasks, I try to remind myself that sometimes it's enough to just come in and be a caring adult to my students. In the future, I hope I'll think of Snape on these days!

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    1. It's true. I've had more changing feelings about Snape than I think I've had about any other literary character. Snape helps me breathe and look at my kids with a new lens, especially when I'm about to lose it. :)

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  5. You had me at Snape. I was heartbroken when actor Alan Rickman passed away. While I never read the books, I always found his character brooding and slightly tortured. Oh, and I had to breathe several times on Friday!

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  6. As I said earlier, I don't know these characters well. However, I love your series of posts and your thoughtful reflections. You have convinced me that listening to the podcast will be totally worth it.

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    1. Thank you! For some reason, it's the non-Harry Potter fans that really make me happy when I see their comments. Something about the idea transcending the book, or something like that. :) I'm so glad you are getting something from it.

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  7. Brilliant! I love the way you remind yourself (and us) that it is too easy to get caught up in the negative, and, of course, the negative is never why we started teaching. As a Harry Potter fan, I must go and find the podcast too.

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    1. I shared the link in the blog post if you're having trouble finding it. I've listened to it multiple times, and will probably continue to throughout my career. It's becoming a talisman for when I need a reset.

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