Fishing and Teaching
On Monday plain, silver spoons catch northerns like nobody’s business. On Tuesday bright blue Rapalas work the best to rip into the crappie. And on Wednesday nothing bites…except for the fishing. The recipe for good fishing is always different, ever-changing and a fisherman’s troubles are never ceasing.
Fishing is good, except for when it isn’t. Those dreadfully slow days make me want to cry out, “Why do I even fish?” because the lack of nibbles sinks my spirit to the bottom of the lake. How can I catch the greatest catch one afternoon and the next afternoon not even have a bite? These days baffle me and make me want to snap my rod in half and proceed to throw it into the lake. I know how to fish but sometimes the fish simply aren’t receptive.
Even on the slow days, fishing draws countless parallels to teaching. Sometimes teachers throw out a flashy lure to find an empty net at the end of the day. Even great teachers sometimes manage to lose a good catch. The hook was solid but, due to a student’s tireless tugging, right as the net is dipped into the water the student spits out the hook. Other times the simplest bait, a weight and a night crawler, draw all of the students in: students grab onto the lesson hook, line, and sinker. All is good with the world when the teacher limits out at the end of the day.
Every experienced fisherman knows that the work is not done once the fish are in the boat. Likewise, a teacher’s work is not done once the students leave the classroom. There is still the process of securing the boat, cleaning the fish, retiring the equipment, creating lesson plans, emailing, and grading to be done.
When I see my bobber get dragged to the bottom of the lake and I reel in the biggest trout I’ve ever seen, suddenly enduring the sun, bugs, waves, and wind makes the struggle seem painless. Seeing the students’ “Ah-ha” moments and knowing you made students feel welcome in school makes the tedious work worth it. These very moments are what keep me casting my line back onto the water.