ONE TEACHER’S ALPHABET
G is for Grace
For me, the word “grace” applies to teaching in many ways. To start with, the word suggests seemingly effortless beauty or charm of form or proportion, which is certainly what I want to promote in my students’ reading. My hope is that they can learn to read books like To Kill a Mockingbird, Great Expectations, or Macbeth with a relaxed open-mindedness, and that their reading-journal entries can begin to have a dignified and orderly quality. I want them to keep a sense of balance as they read, immersing themselves in the flow of the words but at the same time remaining calmly objective so as to better appreciate the overall artistic quality of the work. In addition, I would like my students’ essays to have a touch of “grace”, a feeling of fitness and propriety. Every word should be perfectly suitable for its position in the sentence, and the overall piece should give an impression of decorum, of writing done in a distinguished manner for distinguished readers. The sentences and paragraphs should move along with as much grace as a royal procession. Finally, of course, I would like there always to be a friendly atmosphere in my classroom, a spirit of good grace, a disposition to be generous or helpful. I would hope that my students and I would always treat each other with graceful generosity, and that visitors would come away with a feeling of honest goodwill. English class can sometimes be an exercise in tedium, but, tedious or fascinating, I hope my classes can always be in a happy state of grace.