What’s my lesson? (look right through me.)

hello teacher tell me what’s my lesson? look right through me, look right through me. Roland Orzabal/Tears for Fears, 1982

So my brother-in-law makes these videos of my niece and nephew, which I do appreciate since they live in Ohio of all places (that might have come out sounding wrong). The last one he sent had this beautiful piano music as its soundtrack – when I asked, he answered that it might be Michael Andrews, in an intro to a remake of Mad World by Tears for Fears.

So I youtubed it and, indeed, that’s it. Beautiful song.

I’ve listened to it a few times since I received the latest twins video last week, and only tonight did my mind make its way around these lines – hello teacher tell me what’s my lesson? look right through me, look right through me.

In my last post we reflected on the human qualities teachers – we – bring to our classrooms. One of the strongest just might be the ability to both do and not do what this line is asking.

G-d forbid, as teachers, we look through our students. Imagine being invisible? I’ve known how that feels. Like I don’t exist. That’s the part not to do.

image found here, on the pbase gallery of backtothestart.

At the same time, when a student arrives in my classroom she is implicitly asking for her lesson.

She is asking me for her lesson.

And if I look right through her, past her language, her colour, her attitude wrought from years of learned helplessness and strong wall making and straight to her, I just may be able to find the lesson she’s asking for.

Maybe.

image found here, by accident, at a Physics blog by teacher Dean Baird. I’ve bookmarked it.

That’s the part to do. That maybe I wrote about? That is where my heart leads me.

6 comments / Add your comment below

  1. It’s funny because the whole song is about a teenager’s angst. We have a unique position as not only teachers, but psychologists and oftentimes parents. Looking for different ways to reach our children comes from getting thier perspective. Hmmm, good stuff here.

  2. Exactly. Our job can be great.
    Remembering that whether I see my students or I don’t – I am making an impression.

  3. Thanks for dropping by, Frumteacher. It is definitely an intriguing song. The double edge of those lyrics cuts right through me.

  4. Wow–that’s an extraordinarily powerful video, and your post frames it beautifully, as do the comments that follow. A Twitter friend in Australia sent me the link, and I’m very glad she did!

    Best wishes in our shared vocation.

  5. Welcome Gardner. I’m glad you found your way here.
    That song and those lines are becoming very meaningful for me – more each day I get closer to starting a new school year (2 weeks until kids :) )
    Thank you for your wishes, I share them with you.

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