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Quick Write 103111 “Kaleidoscope”

There are people who’ve had huge influence on my thoughts, ideas, and perspectives. Y is one of those people for whom I always have respect and feel grateful. Last night, I was invited to a commencement ceremony of a New York based graduate school to be a photographer for my precious friend who was to graduate with her master’s degree that she’d been pursuing for more than five years. When I found her in a blue cap and gown cheerfully chatting with other graduating students in a lobby of the ceremony venue, she looked like a person that I’d never known. I approached her, conveyed my heartfelt greetings, and started being her private photographer.

When I saw two professors sitting proudly in chairs on the platform, I started wondering what the professor emeritus in a superbly gorgeous cap and gown had brought in a plastic bag on the floor just besides him. A “Daiso” plastic bag didn’t fit the solemn, ceremonial atmosphere at all, and I even thought why he couldn’t have chosen any better bag to this big day. But soon I got to solve the mystery. When the professor emeritus was asked to present diplomas to eighteen graduating scholars, he took out a gift from the Daiso bag and gave it to each student. Guess what it was – A tiny kaleidoscope.

Before the gift-giving, the professor emeritus posed a question. “Why do you think I’m giving a kaleidoscope to you? Does anybody have thoughts on that?” Three students voluntarily answered the question. The professor emeritus responded after one remark saying, “I used to explain the reason why I’m giving it to graduating students myself, but my rendition would’ve never been good, so I gave up and started asking ‘you’ the question. And see? It works pretty well.” A big laughter followed.

I myself tried answering the question on my way home. A kaleidoscope shows different images every time we look into it. Colorful bits and pieces are mixed in million different ways and create endless patterns of the images that could almost never be reproduced. Looking at a kaleidoscope from outside gives us the vision of what it looks like, but once you look into it, you’ll encounter tiny, but infinite universe of colors and shapes. I’ve come to realize that it is exactly what teaching represents. Every student, every learner is different. They have their own colors and shapes, and sit together in one classroom. They resonate, harmonize, and sometimes conflict with each other, and with teachers. They are inconstant, incoherent, but keep growing. Teachers look into the kaleidoscope of learners trying their best to observe it without any preconceptions or preoccupations. Every time teachers look into the scope, they’ll discover something. Those discoveries show endless patterns. Those endless patterns of findings make us a better teacher, and that’s the way it has to be.

(60 minutes / 478 words)

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Aya

Author:Aya
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