Reena’s Exploration Challenge #Week 31


I found this an interesting concept to ponder over. “ I exist because I act to change the world in bits and instalments, I leave a part of myself in every bit that I touch”.

I don’t think consciously you go about with that in mind. It would be weird thinking this morning I am going to mow the lawn and that act will change the world in some way. It will keep the grass under control, it will make me feel better now my yard is tidy, and the clippings will fertilise the earth.

I think it is best to look in hindsight and see where this applies.

As a teacher, I did stand in front of a lot of kids during my 39 years as a teacher. Some I remember fondly some I struggle to recall their names let alone their faces. I’m sure I was more than forgettable to many as well. Let’s face we cannot ever satisfy or please everyone.

It’s in the years after a student went through that you might hear from them. One fellow we engaged in performance went on to make a career for himself in music theatre. He performed in some of the best-known shows all round the country. Some years ago he did a one-man show, and during a performance in our local area he paused to tell his audience he was grateful for the opportunity I gave him while a student to get started in performance.

I guess you could say I left a positive mark on him.

I don’t think at any time I thought of myself as changing the world. Rather I saw my role in education as giving my students opportunities to explore themselves and whatever topic we might be studying. In the end, I hoped they left school with positive memories of their school years. I developed this attitude after working in a country school where so many kids came from families where education had not been a positive experience. I did my bit to change that attitude.


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14 Responses to Reena’s Exploration Challenge #Week 31

  1. Lyn says:

    I think we all remember our teachers for different reasons. Some good and some bad. For the main my teachers were good but my 4th and 5th grade teachers were…hmmm probably better not to say what I want to say. Wooden blackboard dusters at ten paces and two-tiered wooden pencil cases over the back of the head were their choice of weapons.

  2. Reena Saxena says:

    You are so right that we over assume our role in changing the world. I came across the following quote from Justin Brown on Ideapod –

    “I believe we’ve overly focused on lone geniuses in the stories we tell of human progress, whether in science, entrepreneurship or social activism.

    If you look closer, you’ll find that “geniuses” and “visionaries” always work in a wide community of people who often lay the groundwork for a scientific breakthrough or revolutionary new business idea. By focusing our praise on one individual in isolation, we end up missing out on the much richer and more exciting story of where progress comes from.

    The reality is that everything around you that you call life was made up by groups of people collectively working together based on overlapping but very diverse goals. Life gets changed in bottoms up ways.

    And the changes that come about are almost always different than what was originally intended.”

  3. My view, Michael, is that your cutting of the grass is every bit as world changing as your positive impact on students. Either action changes the course of the universe irrecoverably. But neither action, sadly, has any actual importance from a cosmic perspective.

    That said, there can be no doubt that, from your perspective, one has far greater significance than the other.

    I am arguing (though not very well, perhaps) that absolutely nothing has any real importance and that the very concept of importance is an illusion. The human condition does not sit well with such an idea though and my own philosophy is that, in order to maintain sanity, one must choose something that one would like to be important and then live a life pretending that it actually is.

    I would further argue that, in your years of dedication to teaching, this is exactly what (consciously or not) you have done and is what you continue to do.

    I was blessed with some marvellous teachers in my youth and, in many respects, I still am.

    It is a noble profession.

    • Michael says:

      Thank you for your thoughts on my post. I think you are right in that wiithin the tiny scheme of things within the world we inhabit we do place importance on things that give us reason to continue doing them and in my case enjoyment. I think too the recognition you receive does help to cement your place in the universe, no matter how small and insignificant your place might be.

      • My belief is that there is no ‘scheme of things’. But don’t get me wrong. I am a part-time teacher of sorts myself (though probably not a good one) and I do take pleasure in the idea that I may have assisted someone along their chosen path.

        And, as it happens, I do get a lot of enjoyment from mowing the lawn.

      • Michael says:

        So do I, bizarre isn’t it, starting the lawn mower and cutting the lawn, is relaxing, in a sort of way. Thanks again for your thoughts.

      • I don’t know about Morpeth ….. but I am in Cessnock and the grass has suddenly sprung into life.

      • Michael says:

        Yes it’s a weekly job now.

  4. Pingback: Reena’s Exploration Challenge #Week 32 – Reena Saxena

  5. athling2001 says:

    Every little step in a positive direction does change the world. Great response.

Please feel free to comment, I appreciate your thoughts.

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