Vulnerable Journey

I’ve discovered something about myself in the past week that is really liberating. While it may sound simple to some, I have learned that it isn’t the end product that is the most important part of my teaching. I know this and yet that has been my focus for most of my years on the job. The most important things are moments every day along the way in life’s classroom. While I’ve been aiming at touchstones and measuring progress by them, the moments have rippled by often unnoticed. That’s where the vulnerable part comes in.

Living in the moment is by its nature a vulnerable thing. A master craftsman can teach with a scant system. I’d like to think I could present a lesson with nothing more than a chalk slate. Of course, technology can be helpful. I have learned that the bravest part of teaching is walking into the unknown. If I planned everything, the lessons wouldn’t be as effective. I am learning an art and I can see that now. It is not about appearances but rather connections with learners who need my teaching desperately. When they look back at 4th grade, they won’t care about any awards their teacher won. They will remember his willingness to make himself vulnerable, willing to fall and get back up again to meet them where they are in every moment.

Author: Damien Riley

I'm a blogger, film critic, & podcaster with an MA in English from California State University, Fullerton. I teach public school, 4th grade as my primary occupation. My views on films and life are usually headstrong and often 'left of center' on movies and life, but I have respect for the other side. I married my high-desert princess (now my queen). We have 3 children.