Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The word "hence", though small and seemingly insignificant, holds a great deal of meaning for me as a teacher. One of its meanings listed in the dictionary is for this reason, as in "This is English class; hence you are going to learn to use the English language properly and effectively." The little word has great power in that sentence, for it helps to state the goals of my work in a direct and unmistakable manner. Because I am an English teacher, I plan to teach English -- period. Another definition is therefore, as in "You are spending nine months in my English class; hence, you will forever after know how to read a book intelligently and write an essay confidently." That may sound like braggadocio, but that is, in fact, what I hope will happen to my students as a result of being with me for a year. I expect nothing short of the best -- that my students will leave my class knowing precisely how to use their language to learn and communicate. Finally, the word "hence" can mean from this source, as in "He was a student of Mr. Salsich's for two years, hence his interest in thoroughly understanding what he reads and carefully crafting what he writes." Again, this may sound somewhat smug, but why shouldn't I aim high? I definitely hope to produce people who are earnest about their reading and writing. Because of being in my class, I hope my students are transformed into learners who treasure and respect words, whether they're found in books or in their own writings.

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