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.


Josh said...

"Who says I cannot teach as a student, or as a lawyer, or as a wife, or as a mother?"

I think that says it all. Your passion can be exercised in so many ways. I love kids too, and that will be a huge part of my life, but that doesn't mean I'm going to only work with kids. I have a lot of talents and interests, and I don't think they contradict each other. I think those who encounter you will learn so much more from you because you find a way to express all of your good qualities. And that is something to be proud of.

Okee said...

Thanks. I could use some reinforcement about that from time to time, as many look askance at my future legal, uh, future, when they know how much I love teaching. As my wondeful mother suggests, "You can always teach law!!)

kasamba said...

I have to tell you that I looked at your post several times since you posted and its only now that I feel I can comment.
You bowled me over.
I wish there were more people like you , someone so dedicated, loving and spiritual.
May you have Hatzlochah in what ever you do!

Okee said...

kasamba, thank you.