For me this is a great metaphor for my life. If you think of how small your feet were when you were young, and compare them with how large and calloused they are now....what a difference. The same could be said for my own knowledge and experience. I took a country (visit) survey - I've been to approximately 40 different countries. I've lived in about six for any length of time. I would hope that gives me a global perspective. My husband jokes that we should be citizens of the world - not of individual countries with arbitrary borders.
When I was young, my favorite shoes were my ballet shoes. I was light, skinny, and agile. I would like to think my mind and understanding of the world were of the same. Some could consider that naivete, but I choose not to.
As a teenager I experimented with what can only be described as army boots that were swapped with high heels or cowboy boots. Again, I believe my mind was trying to hunker down and protect itself from outside influences while at the same time trying to attract the opposite sex. I believe most teenagers are like that - trying to be their own person, but also trying to find their way in this crazy world.
Fast forward to now. I'm a wife, a mother, and even a grandmother, but I refuse to wear "grandma" shoes - the ugly orthopedic ones. I wear fancy sandals, and sports shoes. I even wear an occasional high heel.
How does all this relate to my teaching? I would like to think that I change my shoes to fit my needs - and I change my teaching methods and styles to fit my needs and more importantly to fit my student's needs i.e., what I am able to do or not do (like wear high heels) [or to get my students to study when they don't want to]. I can be practical (sneakers) when I need to like when we are pushing for an exam etc. Or, I can be fun and impractical (high heels) on a special occasion.
I think I need to be as flexible as possible. I need to be able to change shoes - sometimes in the middle of the lesson. I miss my ballet shoes, but I have been known to bust a move in the class room.
For me, I think that I must realize what shoes my students are wearing - flats, heels, vans, high top sneakers - and still be able to get such a diverse group to gel right from the first class.
Occasionally someone will stumble (my middle name should be grace because I fall so much), but it is my job and my pleasure to help pick them up, dust them off and send them on their merry way.
One could argue that in the future we may not need to walk to do anything so we won't need shoes, but I can't see women giving up their Manolo Blahniks anytime soon!
I as a teacher, need to remember that my student wear many shoes and that even if they show up in army boots - they are "my" students and they won't wear them forever!