Sunday, October 01, 2006

ON TEACHNG: Feeling Full

I realized this morning that I hope my students feel “full” when they leave my class each day – not stuffed, or crammed, or over-loaded, but pleasingly filled up with exactly what they need. I might compare it to the kind of feeling you would have on leaving a home you’ve been visiting, and where you have been treated with the utmost kindness, respect, and generosity. You would feel, at least temporarily, that life was good. For as long as you enjoyed the glow of your friendly visit, you would probably feel quite pleased with life. I would like my students to feel that way when they leave my classroom, and I believe I can provide some things that would give them that feeling. For instance, I can make my room a place of true comfort – not couch-potato kind of comfort, but the comfort that comes from knowing they’re in a safe place. I can offer them the assurance that no one will attack, ridicule, or reject them while they’re in my classroom, so that when they leave my class, they can feel a little stronger and more resolute. I can also provide my students with a sense of the seriousness of their work in English class – a sense of their own importance and value as students of reading and writing. They may not always walk out of my room packed full of new knowledge, but I hope they always feel more significant, more distinguished, than when they walked in. Perhaps they can leave my English class each day filled up full with the awareness that they are earnest students engaged in a momentous enterprise. That would be a wonderful kind of satisfaction to take away from Room 2.

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