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Sentence:

I teach because, being around people who are beginning to breathe, I occasionally find myself catching my breath with them.

Question:

What does catching my breath with them mean? I sense some special effect has been made, but what figure of speech is it, metaphor?

A lot of thanks!
Comments  
I suppose the meaning is that when we discover something new and surprising, we often gasp ('catch our breath') in astonishment or delight. A good teacher, of course, often discovers new things, or new views of things, along with his/her students.

I wouldn't call this a metaphor. I'm sure it has another name-- the use of one characteristic to represent the whole experience-- but I have a mind like a sieve, sorry. Maybe another member will know.
If your mind is like a sieve, then my mind would just be a waterfall! Emotion: big smile[C]

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This paragraph appeares before in the context would help to comprehend that sentence:

These are the real reasons I teach, these people who grow and change in front of me. Being a teacher is being present at the creation, when the clay begins to breathe.
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Mister MicawberI suppose the meaning is that when we discover something new and surprising, we often gasp ('catch our breath') in astonishment or delight. A good teacher, of course, often discovers new things, or new views of things, along with his/her students.

I wouldn't call this a metaphor. I'm sure it has another name-- the use of one characteristic to represent the whole experience-- but I have a mind like a sieve, sorry. Maybe another member will know.
Metonymy/Synecdoche/Pars pro toto?
So it's synecdocheEmotion: rolleyes

found in google:

Synecdoche (提喻法)

  • A form of metaphor in which the part stands for the whole, the whole for a part, the genus for the species, the species for the genus, the material for the thing made, or in short, any portion, section, or main quality for the whole thing itself (or vice versa).
Thanks all for the research, but now I don't think it's synecdoche. With the context:

These are the real reasons I teach, these people who grow and change in front of me. Being a teacher is being present at the creation, when the clay begins to breathe. I teach because, being around people who are beginning to breathe, I occasionally find myself catching my breath with them.
This is a reference to the divine creation of Man. God molded a man from clay and blew the breath of life into him. The teacher is exulting in the experience of watching young minds develop and discover-- 'come to life'-- and the teacher sometimes, as I said, learns something new as well.

This does seem to be a metaphor: being created a person is a metaphor for gaining knowledge/wisdom

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Hmmmm, now I sense "catching my breath" here means "exulting". It's very vivid. And the figure of speech is metaphor.Emotion: rolleyes

Thank you again!
Catching my breath is not a metaphor because a metaphor uses like or as. I am pretty sure it is personification.
anonymous a metaphor uses like or as

No; that is a simile. A metaphor carefully does NOT use 'like' or 'as'.

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