Posted by: Lotus Light | May 16, 2010

Involvement

I hate being judged by others, because I feel they do not know enough about me. I have many dimensions to my life, and in each of those dimensions I am a different person. Therefore, when I am judged just from a single perspective, I feel mis-judged. In turn I tend to not respect those judging me.

As a teacher, it is exceptionally easy to judge students by the dimension of themselves that they are in the classroom. Students I teach after lunch are always a little slower than those I have before lunch. The 2 hour nap is hard to wake from, so still sleepy students sit quietly, saying little, trying to sneak in a few more minutes of sleep. Students with English lower than the class average tend not to seem as intelligent. They can’t present ideas fluently, and therefore, by our standards, they have no ideas.

However, if we involve ourselves with students in other facets of their lives, we can see completely different people. The quiet, conforming, dull students in the classroom become the activists, the environmentalists, the mountain climbers, the dancers. They may be sending money home to help family finances, they may be volunteering at the local orphanage, or studying another degree part-time.

It is only by being prepared to spend extra time with our students or colleagues that we can see other facets of their personalities and make somewhat better judgements. But this requires our time and energy. How often are we willing to spend time outside class with students? Are we willing to give some of our TV or drinking time to accept the invitation to be invited into the lives of others?

If we don’t we will be forever misjudging those around us. And we in turn will be judged.

If we do move outside our classroom/colleague limited roles, we may be rewarded with insights into other worlds; we may be stunned by the liveliness and intelligence of those around us; we may learn so much more about where we are, about other people and in turn, ourselves.

It seems obligatory to deride those who voluntarily work outside their regular work hours. ‘Fools’, we laugh, ‘Get a life’. What we don’t realise when we use this limited view of the world around us is that if we limit our involvement, for fear of being exploited, from laziness, from too busy drinking or any other excuse we claim, we lose so much richness that is possible.

Being in a different country is no reason not to embed yourself in the battalion around you. Becoming part of the community can bring extraordinary experiences, not the least of which is seeing a completely different side of those we teach or work with.

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Responses

  1. I know that I have enjoyed moving outside the "safe" zone. By that, I mean the safety of familiarity, not of personal safety. Spending time with families in villages, wandering through areas where there are fewer tourists while keeping eyes open and a smile on one\’s face leads to all kinds of learning opportunities that make one feel so much richer. As well, we show others that perhaps their stereotypes of foreigners needs to be rethought.

  2. Touching:)


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