By Alexandra Koulouberis
To explore the act of listening, teacher candidates in Dr. Dawn Woods’ Winter 2021 sections of Teaching Mathematics at the Elementary and Middle Level were asked to “Listen for the Gold” based on a reading from the book Listen Like a Storyteller: A Guidebook on Attention and Finding the Truth in the Narrative Age (McCann, 2019). Teacher candidates found a few moments when working with their students to close their eyes to focus on hearing, enjoying, and to listen for the gold. Here is one of the narratives about what they heard as they listened and how it connected to their work as teachers.
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I am a director of school age child care in Grosse Pointe. As I sit here in the lunch room at the lunch table, I hear and notice a lot of things. School has just recently let out. So, I hear all of the children talking with their friends in the hallway, zipping their backpacks, and shutting their lockers. Some of my kids are starting to come in and welcome me with a “Hello Ms. Alexa!” I greet them back as they are setting their backpacks down and instantly going to grab some of their favorite toys. I hear Legos pouring out, the barbie doll car rolling across the gym floor, and all of them talking with each other. Along with all these noises, I hear the fan in the gym running. I hear the heaters in the wall clicking as they are starting to warm up. As it starts to quiet down, I can hear the buzzing of the lights before the kids start talking again. I’m wearing my winter jacket, so I hear the ruffle of the sleeves on my side as I type this, along with my keyboard clicking.
At this moment, I probably hear about at least 15 different sounds. The sound of the children talking to each other and me, my keyboard, and the toys as they smack against the table are the most prominent. All the other sounds are murmurs in the background as I listen for more sounds to come to me.
The softest thing I can see right now is the hood of one of the student’s coat. It has fur all along the hood. It is brown and grey with a little bit of black. It looks like when the wind blows, it would protect the girls face from the wind. It looks so soft and comfy and I wish I had something like that on my coat. One of the sounds that stuck out to me is when all of my students came in and greeted me. The sound of “Hi Ms. Alexa!” from all of their special, different voices reminds me how much I love my job. In the morning before school and after school, the students are all so happy and excited to see me. It makes me happy knowing that even if I am having a rough day, they can cheer me up with their funny stories or accidental jokes. Like the Listen for the Gold story says, sometimes we lose ourselves in the world (McCann, 2919). However, doing this exercise, it made me appreciate my job and career path even more and focus on the “gold” in what I do.