Thursday, September 06, 2007

Edward Hopper, "Sun in an Empty Room"


Day 3, September 6, 2007

I enjoyed a stimulating walk to school this morning. It was still dark when I left home about 5:30, so I wore my reflecting vest for safety's sake. There wasn't much traffic that early, but every so often I saw headlights in the distant darkness and the cars almost always swung wide as they passed me. The light imperceptibly brightened as I walked, and when I reached the quiet country rode near the school, I could see the signs of the rising sun in the eastern sky. There were slim streamers of pinkish clouds lying just above the trees, and I knew the sun of a new day was just below.

Today I taught very slowly and deliberately, but also in a happy-go-lucky and lighthearted way. I think I felt so relaxed and carefree mainly because, as I did yesterday, I planned a realistic amount of material to cover. This enabled me to allow the students a little relaxation time at the start of class, as well as a 2-minute break in the middle of class, something I've almost never done. My students and I worked hard, but we also enjoyed our few minutes of leisure. There was an atmosphere of relaxed efficiency in my classroom. I guess you could say we worked hard in a playful manner.

Later in the day, I had to speak firmly to two boys who were sitting in an inattentive way during class. They were either leaning forward in a sprawling way across the table, or slouching back in a posture that bespoke boredom. I don't tolerate this in my classes. I insist that we all show respect to each other, and an uninterested, cynical posture shows the opposite. I made that clear to the boys, and I think they heard me.

On my six-mile walk home, there was fairly heavy traffic on one of the roads, but I think I made the best of it. I’ve been practicing being less judgmental about everything, so I decided I wouldn’t “judge” the traffic. It wasn’t “noisy” or “irritating” or “polluting”, I decided; it was just cars of many colors and shapes passing by in both directions. Before long I began to experience the flow of cars on the road in a different way than before. The swoooosh they made as they passed began to sound something like the surf at the beach, and the varieties of colors and shapes took on significant interest for me. Consequently, the rest of my walk home became more of an enjoyable adventure than a taxing ordeal.

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