Yesterday I made a good decision – a decision based on a desire to be a more resolute and unswerving teacher. After reading a complicated novel out loud to the students for the first few Fridays of the year, I had grown discouraged with the book and was close to abandoning the practice, but yesterday I decided to persist – and I’m glad I did. I read the book (Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw) out loud to the 9th grade for a full 25 minutes (while they followed the text with their own copies), and it turned out to be a wonderful experience. Whenever I glanced up from my reading, I could see that the kids were fairly riveted on the words on the page. The story. while written in an unusually elaborate and sometimes tortuous manner, can actually be spellbinding, and the students were obviously feeling some of that magic yesterday. I’m glad I was able to get past my pessimism about the book and be a more unwavering teacher than I have sometimes been in the past.
Even if we didn’t have a calendar, it would be easy to see, in the last few days, that the season has shifted from colorful October to straightforward November. Yes, there are a few last golden leaves clinging to tree limbs, but for the most part the landscape has been swept clean of the vivid fall colors. The extravagant beauty of October has been transformed into the refined and urbane elegance of late autumn. October was a gaudy dancer, and now we have the prudent and plain business executive called November.