Monday, April 30, 2007

I realized this morning that I want my students to feel “stretched” during my classes. I came to this conclusion after checking the etymology of the word “intense”, and finding that it derives from the Latin word for “stretch”. I’ve always hoped to have “intensity” in my classes, where the students are deeply involved and even filled with fervor for the work at hand, and now I know a little more about what that actually implies. In order to help them be truly intense in their English work, I must encourage – perhaps force – my students to stretch themselves to the farthest limits. “Extreme” is another word that would apply here. My students, if they want to be really fine readers and writers, must be attentive during class to an extreme degree. They must use extreme effort in concentrating on their assignments. They must feel the emotions in a poem or story in an extreme way. This is being a truly intense student – a student who goes “the extra mile” to reach the farthest and most extreme achievements possible. It’s possible for all my students to develop this kind of intensity, but only if I encourage it, push them toward it, and absolutely insist upon it. I guess that means I have to be as intense – as stretched – as I want them to be.

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