Day 145, Thursday, May 08, 2008
Yesterday I held my first outdoor classes of the spring, and they were among the most stress-free classes I can recall. Of course, how could they be anything else, really, when the students and I are sitting in a sun-splashed, breezy garden having calm conversations about English matters? Even though we all sat up straight in our chairs (a requirement in my classes), there was a laid-back feeling to the class. The kids seemed entirely comfortable as we discussed Dickens and grammar issues in the easy-going air. This is especially interesting because I had talked with the students beforehand about being extra-serious when we’re outside among so many distractions. I told them I expected them to be entirely focused and earnest during the outdoor class, which you might think would lead them to be somewhat stiff and inexpressive. Far from it. As we sat among the blossoming trees and flowers, the kids spoke with a particular sense of independence and enthusiasm. Some of the typically quiet ones spoke with unusual eagerness, as if the spring air had gently stirred their thoughts and buoyed up their hearts.