Wednesday, January 10, 2007

There are at least three ways in which harmony plays an important role in my classroom. First of all, from my point of view, there always seems to be a pleasing combination of elements in the room, all of which work together to make an agreeable whole. These elements are usually very different from each other (each student has specific strengths, weaknesses, and interests), but they always appear to intermingle in a harmonious manner. It could be compared to a lovely living room, which may artistically blend a bulky couch, a slim rocking chair, and wildly colorful curtains. In my classroom, thoughts, feelings, and people of thoroughly disparate kinds come together each day to make what always seems to be an artistic totality. It’s interesting to note, too, that a synonym for harmony is “accord”, which derives from the Latin word for heart. This helps me appreciate another aspect of harmony in my classroom – the fact that even though my students and I don’t always agree with each other, our “hearts” are still together in a genuine kind of friendship. We enjoy being with each other (most of the time), and that bond of fellowship is far stronger than any difference of opinion. In fact, there’s actually harmony within those very differences of opinion, the same kind of harmony we see, for example, when looking at parallel translations of a passage in the Bible. The translations each interpret the passage in different ways, and yet we can see a consonance among them, something that unites them together. It’s actually enjoyable to see these translations side by side, because it helps us appreciate both the differences and the similarities. Similarly, I have 40 students with me in my room each day, side by side, and there’s a beautiful harmony present right in the midst of all that astonishing variety and disparity.

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