Over the years I’ve engaged in intense discussions with teachers about how to conduct yourself in the classroom. On another listserv a group of us even started a side discussion on establishing relationships in the classroom. What I knew from my long experience as a counselor is that the tactics you use depend so much on your personality. Personality types are a fact. My friend, Brian and I spent hundreds of hours going over how we react in the classroom. One thing we understood is that while our interests are similar as is our passion for language, our personalities are different, so that what works for him might not work for me and vice versa.
What I see in Cynthia’s post is a wonderful exploration of her own resources in meeting a challenge and opportunity. Her openness did not depend on a personality ready immediately to jump into something but rather on a decision to jump in despite a natural tendency to be reserved. I usually have to go the other way and shut up when my instincts are to jump in with a quip or smart remark that’ll get me in trouble. Opening ourselves up the way Cynthia has is good for us so we can explore not only what works for us but what might work for us if we try it.