Always Consider Myself A Student
And you should too. In the classroom before I’m to meet with students, this last week before finals week, I’m staring at each row of chairs. I know where everyone sits in this English 100 class and how everyone is doing for the most part, but what I don’t know is what grade I have, how am I doing, what else do I have to learn. I always want to be pocketing new ideas. About everything. About writing, photography, running, wine, wildlife, music, being a parent… everything. Being in the student’s mindset offers us, regardless of your profession, an invitation to grow and potentially perfect whatever it is you do for a living. Or maybe it’s not what you do for a living, yet. A passion. You love reading books about fishing, say, ‘cause that’s what brings you happiness, going out on the lake and tossing your lure for a few hours— that’s what you do in your spare time, that’s what you love. SO, buy some books on fishing… go to websites, LEARN. Be a student. And as with all my writings, this is something I have to remind myself of. Instead of watching the news, where everything now is just argumentative and depressing, pick up a book on Philosophy, on wine, or Jack Kerouac. When we’re students we recapture a certain level and fire of life that may have been pulled away by responsibilities, somehow; by the “real world”. The “real world” has no power to make decisions in what enlivens our passions. The student is the pursuer, the livingest of livers, the one thirsty and always ablaze.
I love watching my students (who are really more teachers to me, especially this semester) scribble with a riled ferocity in their journals while I or one of their colleagues is speaking. Learning is growth, and love, and wildly living. There is a part of me that entertains going back to school to be a matriculated student again, but then I realize I don’t have to. Not just ‘cause I’ma teacher learning from my students or how I love to learn more about my interests, be in wine or literature or music, but from my desire to approach everything as a student. Even this moment in the empty classroom. What am I learning? Quite curtly, to take advantage of these quiet moments before class or after or wherever and let the thinking wander as it wishes. This is more than an empty room, its more than where the 100 students sit, it’s part of my life, not what I do simply but who I am… one at class’ head, exchanging ideas with real students. How funny is that, one might say, the teacher wishes himself a student. “No,” I’d answer, “he doesn’t wish he were a student, he knows he IS a student.” While we’re alive, we should push ourselves to learn more, about whatever we ultimately want to do or just what makes us happy. Toss your hook into the thought pond, see what you catch… see what meets your urgency, see what bites. There’s something out there for us all to learn, we just have to convince ourselves we’re enrolled. “Don’t worry about your grade,” I tell myself, “just enjoy class.”