Ear good, mouth bad…


How can it be almost four pm already? It’s the time of the year when everything just comes on the heels of everything else. The people I work with are short tempered and stressed. I’m trying to cultivate my calm.

I’ve also taken on a few days of additional teaching as a favor to a friend these past couple of weeks and it’s been instructive to compare the cultures of various schools.

When teaching, I always wish that I could listen more and speak less. I feel like I do alright in that regard in my regular classes, but sometimes the temptation to clarify and restate is too great when I’m in new situations. I end up feeling abashed for all my mouthiness. The classroom is an interesting situation, given that what I’m trying to teach is critical thinking as much as it is creative practice. For me, those two things have always gone hand in hand. But the trick with teaching them is that you can’t dictate them, you have to create the condition where people find their way to them. Hence the struggle to say the right thing.

Nine times out of ten, if I’m not saying something, it’s because I’m trying to figure out what to say. The situation is worsened in a medium like email, where emotions can run high and escalate at a moment’s notice. Emails seem to carry with them the injunction to be answered point for point and tone for tone, for good or for ill. I see people ratcheting up each others’ stress levels and look for a way to moderate that. But then again some people do not wish to be moderated.

Listening and breathing continue to be excellent sugestions, as much as I am tempted to ignore them.

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