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Monday, December 15, 2008

The Conductor's a Dancer: The Teacher's an Artist

I had a great conversation at the local coffee shop with the owner, who is an amazing professional dancer. We were talking about the beauty of dance and he made a comment that so interested me.

He said,

"Dancing with a live orchestra is one of the greatest thrills of my life. What most people don't realize is that the conductor watches the dancers and conducts the music to synchronize with the dance. The conductor is a dancer. Just as much a dancer as those on the stage."


It struck me and I thought of my favorite scene of my life from the nutcracker as performed by the Bolshoi Ballet (I love the part where the lead just floats across the stage as her partner guides her! Gives me chills!)

Then, I thought of the duplicity of roles in my own life.

The teacher is a student. Part of the process, conducting things to make them conducive to learning, watching the learners -- learning how they learn and customizing the classroom environment to the uniqueness of the students.Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in 1921Image via Wikipedia

The administrator is a teacher. Part of the process, watching the environment, coaching everyone to move towards a common goal. Making the learning environment sychronize with a unique staff of unique students.

And then, this quote came across my computer today:

"“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” Albert Einstein"

Supreme art of a teacher is to awaken joy? You are artists. Your job is to awaken a joy for learning. So, says a brilliant scientist and many other educators who know this in their heart.

Ah, how far we have fallen from the art and beauty of much that has made teaching great.

And yet, amidst the testing and tough times, the truly great teacher artisans are still those that capture, and continue to awaken that joy and experience it every day.

Never lose your wonder that you have students to influence and help. And take the last moments before break or the first moments starting the next period to awaken joy.

Never forget that the first step to awakening the joy of learning in others is to experience the joy of learning yourself.

Remember your noble calling, teacher!

You are an amazing artisan of joy with a noble calling. And although a king may fall in the mud and be trampled, tis nobility of the heart that determines his kingship. Do not let what the world says about teachers get you down -- you have the most noble calling on earth.

Hold your head high and celebrate it this season!
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