These figures used to sit on a small ledge above my old computer desk. The instant I saw them, I was reminded of a former student and of the valuable lesson he taught me.
I was very young, probably in my second year teaching. This particular student was on the autism spectrum. He would rarely make eye contact and struggled to communicate verbally. He liked to wander the room and often found his way to my desk area. After that class would leave, I would always discover my trumpet player was turned backwards.
Months would pass and I was growing more irritated that this student kept moving my things. I'm not sure what finally sparked my epiphany, but one day I figured out why this student was persistently moving these figures. In my mind, each figure represented a separate part of me, the performer and the educator. I faced the figures outward so people could look at them. But, this student wanted the figures to interact instead of being separate! He was turning the trumpet player towards the teacher to read the notation from the board!
This lesson was very humbling. It reminded me to think from another's perspective to try and understand their point of view. In my mind, I was right. In his mind, he was right. You can disagree with someone forever, but it will be wasted energy until you try to view the problem from a different perspective.
Now that I have unpacked these figures, they will sit on my cabinet facing one another and interacting, just as my former student always positioned them. They will remind me to always examine things from a different perspective.
This post is part of Fermata Fridays!