Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Day 79, Wednesday, January 16, 2008


The Metaphor of the Day: A Basket

6:35 a.m.

I thought I might write each morning, or as often as possible, about a particular metaphor for teaching that I want to keep in mind during the day. This morning I'm thinking of a basket.

Today I want to be like a basket -- a gigantic basket, the world's biggest basket, an infinitely wide basket that will comfortably hold everything. 'Comfortably' is the key word here. Sometimes I feel un-comfortable, in the sense that I feel I can't 'take' -- or hold -- what's happening to me. I feel that my life, my 'basket', is too small, too confined, too limited in space to take in all the tasks and pressures confronting me. Today, however, I want to be a really big basket, one that is so immense that it can easily take in and embrace, even hug, anything that comes my way -- any thoughts, any student words or behavior, any so-called 'bad' circumstances. With my 'basket' that extends beyond the horizons, I will be easily able to accommodate everything that happens at school today. Whatever occurs, I will welcome it warmly, for there's room for one and all. (Note: welcoming something into my roomy basket doesn't necessarily mean approving it -- just embracing it because it's real and is here, now, in front of me. In fact, welcoming it is the best way to eliminate any possibility of its controlling or even troubling me.)


2:35 p.m.

Today was a good day for me -- maybe a very good day. It started well and ended well, something that rarely happens for me. Some of the good fortune came from getting to school a bit earlier than usual, which gave me some valuable time to settle myself and get things in order for a productive day -- and a productive day it was. The high point of the day might have been the class when a parent visited. Perhaps having an important visitor helped the kids focus a bit more, helped them feel a certain specialness in the class. Whatever the reasons, the class moved along briskly and somewhat inspiringly, at least for me. It was, I think, one of my best classes of the year.


Today I allowed the 9th graders to use the first 10 minutes of class to go over their essays one more time, putting the final finishing touches on. I reminded them of all the requirements, and then, silently and under my supervision, they polished them up. It seemed to work quite well, which makes me wonder if I should do this more often.

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