With a Jeweler’s Eye

Sue Ann Lockard


A number of years ago I read a book by Og Mandino called The RagPicker, the theme of which was helping to pick people up who had fallen on the Rag heap of Life.   The book was a sad commentary on the realities of life, but also inspiring as a reminder of our abilities to help each other.  While I understood the term Ragpicker in the sense Mr. Mandino had used it, I did not think it was right for my career as a teacher of young children. I was challenged to come up with an appropriate inspiring and analogous term for teaching.

After pondering on this for a bit, the term that seemed just right to me was JEWEL POLISHER.  We think of our students as treasures or jewels, and our role as teachers is to help them aspire toward goals and their potential.   I felt happy and inspired by the term Jewel Polisher, and didn’t think about it again until a few months later, during the summer when I was taking a Writers Workshop Institute.  We were completing one assignment after another for about three weeks.  As the weeks went on, I was beginning to panic that I was running out of topics to write about . . . but one day, as I contemplated the newest  assignment, that term Jewel Polisher popped  into my head again and the ideas started flowing.

What evolved was a piece entitled “With A Jeweler’s Eye,” which outlined for me what I wanted to be as a teacher.  It was written in first person because I was challenging myself.  I did not always live up to that challenge, but I knew what my goal was.

Jewel Polishers are teachers who realize BIG TIME they are in the Relationship Business, and while I think positive relationships are the success factor in every walk of life from parenting to business, they are critical in the classroom and now more than ever!  Jewel Polishers are those rare and special teachers that made you feel uniquely important to them, and we can all instantly remember who they were in our lives.

Unique caring and inspirational bonds are to me Magical Catalysts which propel learning far beyond what  the simple transfer of knowledge  and the latest and greatest technology will ever achieve alone.     Jewel Polishers create an environment that makes students yearn to learn, strive for goals, and think about possibilities for themselves beyond what they had considered before, and literally spark dreams that may someday become realities.  

With a Jeweler’s Eye

I am a Jewel Polisher

Teach is but one small thing I do,

My greater task is to spark brilliance

To treasure, and help it shine through!

Just as a jeweler, at his workbench, surveys with that expectant eye, a new assortment of stones,

So do I survey my new class each year.

Just as the stones come to the jeweler from varying locations, having undergone different pressures,

So do the children before me represent assorted pasts.

Just as the jeweler knows the value of a stone even in its rough form,

So must I challenge myself to look beyond the surface, to seek until I discover and appreciate those rare qualities which make each child uniquely Wonderful!

Just as the jeweler, with every skill he possesses sets about to reveal the brilliance he knows exists within,

So must I take time to know and care, with looks and words, that these precious jewels be affirmed by me.

Just as the jeweler must turn each gem slowly under differing lights, carefully considering its potential forradiance,

So must I contemplate the possibilities of every child.

Just as the jeweler must use different processes for each of his variety of stones,

So must I be keenly sensitive to the individual natures of my jewels.

Just as jewelers centuries ago discovered the process of tumbling stones to help reveal their inner essence,

So must I tumble my jewels against ideas and each other to help them refine their understanding of themselves and the world.

Just as the jeweler must be exacting in his calibrations before he cuts,

So must I be informed and have a destination sighted before I begin to journey with my jewels.

Just as the jeweler cuts, reexamines, and recalibrates his next step,

So must I constantly reevaluate my techniques against the progress of my students.

Just as a jeweler shapes his gems,

So must I expose facets of the world to my children, that they can make connections and then reflect glorious rainbow colored prisms out through facets of their own.

Just as the jeweler searches for the setting that will most enhance each gem,

So must I expose my jewels to many and varied situations as they search for their life setting.

And just as the jeweler must consider not only the beauty of a particular setting, but its marketability as well,  

So must I imbue my jewels with adaptability for a technologically evolving world.

Just as you can see in the jeweler’s face, his awe and wonder at the richness of the crystals in his keeping,

So must I help all those who come in contact with my jewels understand the miracles therein.

I am a Jewel Polisher,

Teach is but one small thing I do.

My greater task is to make you believe

In the strength and talent in you.


HOME page>                  NEW STUFF page> 
          WRITING CONTENT page>       GUEST ARTISTS page>Home_1.htmlNew_Stuff.htmlEssays.htmlGuest_Artists.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3