Saturday, June 03, 2006

ON TEACHING: "Letting the River Flow"

As the school year draws to its close, I must admit that I look forward to laying down my pen and pencil, setting aside my lesson plan book, closing the “teacher” rooms of my brain, and just letting my life be what it wants to be for a few weeks. Toward the end of June, I’m sure I’ll want to begin planning my curriculum for next year (it’s a summer activity I very much enjoy), but for now I want to take pleasure in the feeling of having absolutely nothing to plan. I’ve spent the last nine months planning every moment of my teaching day, and the process has worn me out. For the next several weeks I want to let the universe make the plans for me. I want to be a follower, not a leader. An analogy might help here: As a teacher, I have spent this past school year trying to “control” the river of life in my classroom. My lesson plans, activities, literature discussions, essay assignments, and such were designed to force the feelings and thoughts of my students (and me) to flow in certain directions toward definite goals. I have constructed “dams” and “levees”, if you will, to ensure that the thinking in the classroom did what I wanted it to do. Now, for at least the first part of the summer vacation, I want to let the stream flow as freely as it wants to. I want to relax and float wherever the river of life wants to take me. I don’t want to labor over plans or fret about decisions. I’m going to cast off the lines and let the ship of my life drift for a few happy weeks. The ship is well-built and the river’s been flowing for eons, so I think I’ll be fine. I think I can loosen up, sit back, and simply enjoy the journey.

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