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In Memoriam: Ivannia Soto

Ivannia Soto was an exemplary scholar-practitioner. Her scholarly contributions are impressive and include 14 published books, but perhaps even more impressive was her dedication...

Opera for Educators

Celebrate Mother Language Day

HomenewsCultureRumi in the Language Classroom Vol 5: The Pain of Professional Development

Rumi in the Language Classroom Vol 5: The Pain of Professional Development

Rumi in the Language Classroom Series Vol 5

See Vol 1 here
See Vol 2 here
See Vol 3 here
See Vol 4 here

In the fifth part of “Rumi in the Language Classroom”, we will explore one of the Rumi’s stories in the collection “Masnavi-e-Manavi” called The Lion Without Head and Tail. This is the story of a champion who wanted to tattoo a lion on his shoulder. When the tattooist started, the champion cried out in pain and asked what the tattooist was doing. The tattooist replied that he was doing what the champion requested. The champion asked what part of the lion was being tattooed, and the tattooist replied its tail. The champion said that the tattoo doesn’t need that part. This scenario repeated, and any part of the lion the tattooist began to tattoo, the champion shouted and asked not to. The tattooist got angry and said, “nobody has seen a lion without head and tail”.

The story beautifully illuminates the pain behind development in the world. To me, the champion portrays teachers who would like to promote in their careers but they do not want to take the pain of it. The tattoo is a metaphor for professional development and the tattoo artist is a teacher educator. If we consider tattoo as professional development, different organs of the lion are the activities teachers do to develop professionally such as certification courses, attending conferences, and peer observation (Richards & Farrell, 2005), to name a few. The teachers who do not have the perseverance for doing the tasks do not deserve to have a beautiful tattoo. As nobody has seen a lion without a head and tail (or a tattoo without pain), nobody has seen professional development without certification, studying, etc.

My own DELTA experience was a prime example of the pain in the professional development procedure. Around 45 days, 10 observations, 6 teaching practices with more than 8000 words for their lesson plans and background assignments, critical reflections, and many other tasks made DELTA Module 2 a backbreaking experience. In addition to these difficulties, the high price of the course especially for the candidates from some countries with a high rate of currency exchange like Iran made the experience more challenging. Considering all these pains, most teachers decide not to do it and some trainees give it up during the course.

All in all, the professional development components such as attending conferences, lesson planning, reading, and the like need time, money, and energy. But it should be borne in mind that “no pain, no gain”.


Richards, J. C., & Farrell, T. S. C. (2005). Professional development for language teachers: Strategies for teacher learning. Cambridge University Press.

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