Friday, May 16, 2008

Day 150, Thursday, May 15

It occurred to me today that I might need to restrain, at least somewhat, my tendency to try to “improve” my English classes each year. I might need to practice a little more patience, develop a bit more “staying power”. I may want to control my sometimes obsessive tendency to rush in with small and large changes each year, and just be content with allowing my curriculum to evolve in a more natural and gradual manner. I started thinking about this, surprisingly, after reading Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. Some of her characters are totally incapable of enjoying the present moment and are thus constantly dashing here and there in attempts to “improve” everything from property to people. Fanny Price, in her quietness and ‘shyness’, is the only person in the novel who understands the importance of appreciating what is instead of what might be. She seems to instinctively know that there is always more depth in "the way things are" than we realize. She’s contented, satisfied, and comfortable with the simple pleasures of life. Perhaps I need to be a bit more like Fanny in my teaching. It’s conceivable that I need to stop “meddling” with my curriculum so much and let it breathe and expand in its own way. There’s probably a lot more power and profundity in my syllabus than I’m aware of, and I need to find the patience to sit back and watch it reveal itself.

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