The essence of teaching, the soul of the art, is being brave enough, psychologically unencumbered enough, to see exactly what is taking place in the minds of your students at any given moment and then--like a good psychotherapist--speak to and through their defenses to uncover the true promise of the lesson, its hidden meaning. This significance will almost always be different from what you originally took it to be and at odds with the lesson plan. But that is what makes teaching a creative act. One doesn't just dispense information--one brings insight into being. I am surprised by what I teach all the time.
I am bourgeois to the core and parochial beyond belief, and yet I am drawn to art and scholarship as my anti-type, my shadow, the voice of distinction I never possessed. I don't think of myself as a teacher so much as an impersonator of profundities, inhabiting the wisdom of texts with the naked confidence that the value of the genius I espouse transcends the particular fraud that I am the one espousing it. And it doesn't even matter to me that no one seems to be listening those who listen that I don't know about are enough to keep me going--soaring on the wings of borrowed metaphors.