Sunday, October 30, 2011

Divine Dissatisfaction

I had my first formal observation this past week. This unscheduled, surprise visit left me awash in reflection...things I would have like to have done differently.

Actually, each day when I drive home, I'm thinking about how I could have changed things, how I might improve my teaching tomorrow.

I flashed on this past summer's professional development with Inspired Teaching, which encouraged us teachers to practice "divine dissatisfaction" -

I'm really excited about xyz that I am doing...
but, I wonder, how can it be better?

This concept of "divine dissatisfaction" was originally said by Martha Graham, American modern dancer and choreographer, to her friend Agnes de Milles' comment:

"I confessed that I had a burning desire to be excellent, but no faith that I could be..."

Martha Graham responded:

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and there is only one of you in all time. This expression is unique, and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium; and be lost. The world will not have it.

It is not your business to determine how good it is, not how it compares with other expression. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.

No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.

Aleta Margolis, Executive Director at the Center for Inspired Teaching, notes how the word "might" is perhaps her favorite word to inject in reflections...

How might I have done this differently?
How might the children have responded if I had...?
How might the environment affect...?

Teaching is art.

Recognizing this, I will embrace my divine dissatisfaction - try to make peace with my unrest.

1 comment:

  1. I think I might give you a hug for posting this. Thanks for being so human and passionate.