Wednesday, April 18, 2007

It occurred to me recently that what happens in my classroom, and in every classroom anywhere, is utterly transformative. In any class on any given day in any school, teachers and students change the way they think, and this transforms them literally into new persons. Even in a class that might be termed “dull”, the transforming process of thinking is continually at work, recreating mental frameworks and generating brand new outlooks on life. Inside the lives of all students and teachers, an astonishing development is constantly occurring: new ideas are making new people. Unfortunately, we teachers are not always alert to this on-going, miraculous activity. To us, it often appears that the classroom is filled with fairly inert and static people (including us). Standing in a classroom is sometimes like standing on the shore of a calm sea: everything appears steady, stable, and – truthfully -- pretty uninteresting. What we need to keep in mind, though, is what’s under the surface. Just as the sea teems with infinite kinds of power and activity, so all students and teachers abound with life-changing thoughts. What seems to be a quiet student sitting in the middle row is actually a highly-charged dynamo of ideas, and what appears to be a tired, tedious teacher is really a part of a universe of constantly evolving systems of inspirations. Today in my classroom, all of us will be remade each moment, whether we realize it or not. The universe of ideas will be ceaselessly revolutionizing itself, and my students and I have no choice but to do the same.

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