Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Method to the Madness...Why I Teach
I promised (threatened?) Josh I'd write a post about teaching when I read his thought-provoking post on dating teachers. (which, duh, I am) ( I don't yet know how to link to another blog, sorry!)
So why is Okee a teacher?
I don't know.
Scratch that. I do. I teach because I believe in what I teach. I believe to the extent that I want others to believe, to know, and to love. And I know I am not perfect. Far, far, far from it. So far that I can relate to the myriad of imperfections shared by all, and empathize with them, and want to help.
It's not egotistical to believe I can help. It is my duty as an educated Jew. How can I learn so much and love the Torah so much and just stand by when so many have learned so little and are barely aware of the possibility of loving Torah, loving Hashem, loving themselves?...
I never wanted to be a teacher. I thought it would be boring, difficult, dorky, and worse. But although it is extremely difficult sometimes in different ways (for me the difficulty lies in disciplining and upholding the kavod of my position), it is never boring, never dorky, never worse. Can a doctor be bored with saving lives? Can a teacher be bored with facilitating Torah growth, enriching spiritual lives?
There is always a danger of being self-righteous when one speaks of fighting for the truth, a religious zealousness. But I am so deeply aware of my own need to be brought closer to Hashem (someone please be mekarev me), that to be self-righteous would be self-delusional. Am I zealous? Well, I do tend to jump up and down when I'm about to say an important Jewish principle or beautiful idea. I do walk into class with a smile on my face and say, "Yay, we're learning Parshas Emor today!" But, I know if my students gain anything at all, it will not be because of me, really. It will be because of themselves.
And that humbles me.
Next year I begin law school. That saddens me. But my teaching will not, b'ezras Hashem Yisborach, ever end. Who says I cannot teach as a student, or as a lawyer, or as a wife, or as a mother? Certainly not me. I say I can.
Posted by Lee at 5/17/2006 09:18:00 PM