Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Teaching is Brain Surgery... Blindfolded

I recently read Dave Levy's excellent book, Gray Matter.  In it he describes his decision to bring prayer into his relationship with his patients.  He also describes the intricacies of brain surgery by entering through the arteries with a long, pliable wire and inserting microscopic stents and glue to block off blood flow to aneurysms and clots.  It is obviously a profession demanding high levels of skill, vast knowledge of the human anatomy and patience and perseverance.  It got me thinking about the work of teaching and learning and the requirements of a classroom teacher.  They too are doing brain surgery only teachers don't have nearly as much help and assistance as our medical colleagues.  Here are several ways that teaching students is actually harder than brain surgery.

  1. Teachers do not enjoy a live video stream of the immediate effect of their teaching as they work.
  2. Teachers don't usually have a small army of assistants in the classroom to help with the performance.
  3. Teachers' students are not put to sleep while performing the procedure.  They are very wide awake and sometimes tend to fail to cooperate with the teacher's intentions.
  4. Teachers must deal with student misbehavior ranging from inattention to defiance and everything in between.

So, hail to our brain surgeons in the classroom, performing critical work on children's gray matter every day with great wisdom, exceptional skill, and unlimited patience.

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