Today in class, I was joking with a group of students. Many of them had come to class expecting one program, and got something else instead Given that it was the first day back, we sent them to their lockers to get their books and materials. As they went, one child kept saying, over and over again, “I don’t need to get my stuff; I have it already.” I said, “A+ for you… F for everyone else.”
And the students laughed. They knew I didn’t mean it. The right tone of voice, the right mindset, the playful expression on my face, let them know they were not in any great risk of failure.
They know that I, like all of my colleagues here, wish them good fortune, and health and prosperity. We don’t want to give them F’s. We want them to succeed. There wasn’t any need to punish the students who didn’t bring the right materials; there was a need to get the right materials, and let this child know to cool off a little, and make space and time for everyone else to get on board.
How appropriate that today, the Moon is in her third Mansion, the chamber representing success for hunters, seafarers, and alchemists — and I would add, teachers: those who by dedicated and continuing efforts light the lamp of knowledge.
From my Flickr account for this image:
The Third Mansion of the Moon, governed by the angel Anixiel, is empowered to provide benefit to sailors, alchemists,and hunters. I made this image of the woman with her hand raised to correspond to the energies of this ancient astrological system, which may come from Babylon, or perhaps India. May your year be prosperous and joyous.
It’s supposed to be an image of a woman seated upon a chair, with her right hand raised. I think I got that part right. Since it’s supposed to be an image of good fortune and prosperity, I’ve seated her on a purple chair at a table where there’s a glass of good red wine. This is one of my first occasions working with the program BRUSHES for the iPad in a long while, and I’m not sure I like it… but I also know that my skills are suffering. More practice is needed.
Ultimately, though, it’s not about the image itself. It’s about the attitude we adopt toward our students. Are we in a place where we wish good fortune and success on our students? Are we calling upon the better angels of our nature to help our student succeed? Are grades a threat, or one tool among many to help a student toward success?
I know for my part, that I hope someday my students are like this woman — under the eye of the angel Anixiel, a glass of good wine, a hand raised to flag down a waiter in a fancy restaurant, well-dressed bejeweled and ready for wonder, “yes, garçon… I’ll have one of everything good. Surprise me.” And maybe they’ll thank me at that moment; maybe they won’t. But the Third Mansion, to me, is about directing and wishing that energy for everyone you teach.
What will you do in 2012 to help your students get there?