Monday, August 28, 2006

ON TEACHING: "Bearing Gifts"

In my classroom this year, infinite riches will be brought to each class. My students, for instance, will walk through the door bearing marvelous gifts. They will carry inside them thoughts of an unlimited variety, many of which they will bestow on the rest of us through our class conversations. The students may not have a dollar in their pockets, but the ideas they bring will add up to untold wealth. I, too, will carry ideas to class – not really “my own”, but ones I’ve borrowed from innumerable sources as the years have passed. They were freely given to me by the world, and I will freely give them to my students each day. (After all, those who have been given much must give away much.) What’s odd about all this is that both my students and I will often be totally unaware of the gifts we carry to class. If someone said, “It’s so nice of you to bring so many thoughts as gifts to class”, we might say “Huh?”

Strange – from September to June we will enter my classroom (both college and middle school) loaded down with gifts, and we often won’t even know it.

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