Thursday, November 18, 2010

To my students: On being and becoming teachers.


A few weeks ago I told some of you that I was inspired to teach Spanish by my high school Spanish teacher, and that I hoped to be able to do the same for some of you.  I said that the mark of an excellent teacher is not how many students he has, but how many teachers he creates.  This is as close to a religious belief as you will ever hear from me.  However, something didn't feel right about the way that conversation ended.

I said that I wanted for you to become Spanish teachers.  That wasn't quite right.  I want you to live happy, good, full, productive lives; I'm teaching you because I think that what you learn from me will help you do that.  Communicating in Spanish will open doors for you that have previously been closed.  These doors are not just in the Spanish-speaking world.  These skills that I hope you're learning in my class will open doors inside your own head.  In some cases, they'll build whole new wings on the mansions of your mind.  (Or the airplane of your mind.  Pick your metaphor.  You build wings on both.)

I want you to love Spanish.   I want you to love speaking Spanish, and I want you to be fascinated by the myriad cultures that use Spanish as their primary language.  I want to have a part in bringing that to you. People who feel this way sometimes become Spanish teachers, because it lets us work with the future of our world AND speak Spanish.  But many other people who love Spanish just as much as I do, decide not to become teachers.  They become business people.  They become doctors or lawyers.  They become farmers.  They become stage magicians.  They re-mix YouTube videos for fun and profit.

I don't want you to become teachers for my sake, which is what I said if you were listening carefully.  I hope you like Spanish class.  I hope that you look forward to coming.  I hope that you like the way I teach.  But what I want for you, what I really want for you, is for you to find what you love and spend the rest of your life doing it. 

That's what I'm doing.


Señor Cosby

No comments: