Archive for January, 2016


     I recently read a Chinese proverb that went something like, “Teachers open the doors, but students have to walk through.” Well, I’ve been opening a lot of doors lately, but too many students have been staying put. In fact, they don’t even know the doors are open because they aren’t paying attention enough to hear my invitation. It seems that I can open doors but I can’t open ears.
     Well, here’s another metaphor: “Teachers prepare the meal, but the students have to be hungry.”
     The problem is that even if I prepare a meal worthy of a 5-star restaurant, many of my students won’t eat it because they just aren’t hungry.
     Someone might say that I need to prepare a different menu and give the students more appealing options. But as my mom would say when I was a kid, “Not every meal is going to be your favorite.” And she also didn’t buy a bunch of junk food for our family to eat. It wasn’t good for us, and we couldn’t afford much of it, anyway.
     When mealtime came around, we sat down and ate because we were hungry. If we didn’t like the food, we ate it anyway, because we were told to. She knew what was good for us. And once in a while we got a special snack or dessert because she knew it was o.k. to give us a little junk to make things fun.
     As we got older, we got to make more choices for ourselves. And by then Mom had taught us how to choose wisely.
     Teachers should provide healthy lessons. Hungry students should eat them up. Not every lesson will be their favorite, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good for them. And once in a while, there should be some special treats to make things fun.
     I don’t think this metaphor is any better than the first one, which could be used to make the same points. It’s just another way of looking at the issue. For that matter we could combine the two metaphors: Teachers open the doors through which students may choose to pass and receive a wholesome, satisfying meal in a warm and safe shelter. And on and on…
     But the real question is, “Why aren’t the students hungry?” Or maybe the real question is, “Why don’t the students believe it’s better to go through the door?” Or perhaps it’s, “Why would the students rather stay out in the cold?”
     Maybe they don’t see any value in what’s being offered for free, which is a treasure in disguise.
     Ooh, another metaphor…