Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Yesterday I taught in a fairly thoughtless manner. By “thoughtless” I mean without thinking too much about what I was doing – re-acting instead of acting, going through the motions instead of performing my duties in an alert and intelligent manner. The word “zombie” comes to mind – and I don’t think I’m being too harsh. Yes, I was alive yesterday, but I was pretty dead to what was happening around me. You could have replaced me with a teaching machine yesterday and the kids might have benefited just as much. For just one example, in the afternoon I came into the study hall in the library and, without giving it a single careful thought, immediately told the kids to be silent. They had apparently been quizzing each other in preparation for exams, but I summarily shut it all down. When a boy asked me why they couldn’t quiz each other, I said, with a curtness that sounded strange to me, “Because I don’t want you to.”

I hope today will be different. I hope I can let each of my actions arise naturally out of careful consideration and awareness. Teaching must be a thought-ful enterprise. It can only be done by thinking people, not mindless machines.

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