Why I ask my students “How are you doing” they immediately start to deliver a rundown of how much, or how little, work they have completed on the current assignment or that classes daily work. I often have to stop them and say “I’m sorry, I really meant how are you doing today, as a person?”
They always assume that because I am their teacher I must want to know about their work. This highlights a danger that I am reading about in Malcolm Gladwells “David and Goliath”. He posits that “David and Goliath” is not about a weak guy vs a strong guy. Its about a strong guy who assumed he would fight another strong guy, but was faced by a fast guy with good aim. David, and God, thought to themselves “I see your muscles and can not beat them, so we will beat you a different way.
Saul assumed that someone would have to meet Goliath head on. Instead of assuming he should have asked “How can we beat him”. Which is how we need to see our own problems.
Every day I go to work without strengths that most teachers are assumed to have. I am disorganized, I don’t teach from the front of the room, I rarely talk about grades, I don’t often know the details of the material I am teaching. I actually am not capable of teaching the way most people assume teachers do. But I still get results. I still motivate, My students grow.
If I were to try and meet the teaching profession on its own terms I would fail, hard. I would look awful and my students would be stupid. They wouldn’t grown. But we need to meet any challenge with the skills we have been given, not the ones we, and others, assume we should have.
“When you are surrounded by people who share the same set of assumptions as you, you start to think that’s reality” – Emily Levine