Like Captured Fireflies
In her classroom our speculations ranged the world.
She aroused us to book waving discussions.
Every morning we came to her carrying new truths, new facts, new ideas,
Cupped and sheltered in our hands like captured fireflies.
When she went away a sadness came over us,
But the light did not go out.
She left her signature upon us,
The literature of the teacher who writes on children’s minds.
I’ve had many teachers who taught us soon forgotten things,
But only a few like her who created in me a new thing a new attitude, a new hunger.
I suppose that to a large extent I am the unsigned manuscript of that teacher.
What deathless power lies in the hands of such a person.
“We’re in the business of guiding the future…It’s a serious business” exclaimed Cory Bulman – the 2017 MN Teacher of the Year. Mr. Bulman recently spoke to MACTE – Minnesota Association of Colleges for Teacher Education members to share his words of advice. His opening lines along with his sharing of John Steinbach’s Like Captured Fireflies told us that we were in for a treat. So… maybe not too many can get so excited over a poem and a few words of advice, but I know I certainly did and perhaps you will too…
Other words of advice to digest by Mr. Bulman:
“As a learner – as a teacher – I am their unsigned manuscript. I am their legacy.
Model our own sense of curiosity and wonder.
Allow our students to stumble.
Before we can expect them to trust us as teachers, we need to have them trust us as learners.
Most important trait of all – authenticity.
Use life to teach about perseverance and strength.
Teaching feeds the soul and leads you while you think you are leading others.
Teaching is not a part of a one-man or one-person show. We are in an ensemble.
Perfect teachers are only in movies written by disgruntled English majors. 😉
Real teachers have no halos around their heads. They just hustle. They try to keep up with the laughable workloads.
Teaching matters…you are the candle in the darkness.
Compare teacher to new driving – judge the risk and take the turn as an experienced teacher.
Own when you stumble – make amends and move on.
You have to be willing to laugh at yourself or you won’t survive. Show students you are human.
Share authentic experiences. If they have a different background, continue to share personal story and where you come from. Have the conversation – not the answers.
Go with the skill sets that work for you. Your personality seeps in to what you do. It’s okay. You have to be allowed to become yourself. You aren’t a robot. It’s alright to be who you are and infuse yourself into what you do.
Educators need to keep our eyes on the real prize – help students catch the fireflies.”