I was listening to a Beethoven sonata for violin and piano the other day, and it led me to thinking about my work in the classroom. The piano and violin are completely different instruments, and yet, when they play together in the sonata, they blend together perfectly. As I listen, I can clearly hear each instrument making its own special kind of sound, and yet there’s also an even more beautiful sound made by the intermingling of the two. Even though they play totally different melodies, the melodies come together in an exquisite amalgamation and unity. This is always my hope for my classroom – that my students and I can make this kind of harmonious music. We are each as unlike as different musical instruments, and yet it’s possible that our dissimilar ideas and feelings can blend together to make a lovely song each day. When we discuss a chapter in a book, we can disagree, go in different directions, argue, and get aggravated, and yet still produce learning that’s pleasant and satisfying. While each playing our own unique “song”, we can make an agreeable melody together. I need to constantly remind my students of this possibility. I’m sure they haven’t thought deeply about the fact that minds that are “poles apart” can blend together as one and still maintain their individuality, that “music” can be made by bringing the most disparate ideas together into a pleasing concord. I hope it can happen in my classroom every day, and I hope my students can come to appreciate it.