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.


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.


  • Tracy says:

    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.

  • Gardner says:

    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.

  • Tracy says:

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

  • Frumteacher says:

    That’s really funny, I posted on this video a while ago for the same reason. I think both the video, the music and the lyrics are intriguing, especially for us teachers. Great post!


  • Tracy says:

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

  • jose says:

    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.

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