I’m Not a Monkey

imageThere’s a delicate balance between teaching and learning; between giving instruction and taking over the task.

And it takes a nimble soul to figure out when to let someone falter or fail.

A student sent an email recently to make an appointment and I set the date we agreed upon.

The student followed up the next day asking where my office is located and I paused before responding.

I could easily take a few minutes and provide directions but decided that a teaching moment had arrived.

Better the student do the work oneself and find my office, which is as easy to discover as my email–which the student had already accomplished.

Recently a yoga teacher seized the teaching moment when a student asked him to repeat a stance. He did.

The student asked the teacher several more questions, which he answered patiently.

But when she asked the teacher to show her the stance again the teacher paused for a few heartbeats and said, no.

I’m not a monkey.

The teacher resumed class and the rest of us continued stretching. The student stopped asking questions.


About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
This entry was posted in authenticity, framing, native american, science, science communication, Uncategorized, writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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