ONE YEAR WITH AN ENGLISH TEACHER
Day 151, Friday, May 16
This morning, Bill was participating with his collaboration group in a thoughtful discussion, when he suddenly stood up, went behind the cabinet, and put a large puppet on his hand. I caught his eye and shook my head, and he immediately put the puppet down and said, “Uh, I don’t even know why I did that.” It was a good example of the thoughtlessness that operates in all of our lives now and then, but it was also an example of a young person’s ability to understand what had happened – to see that what he had just done was a mindless act. It was a wonderful insight on Bill’s part. For a moment he was able to step back and see himself as he truly was, something adults often spend decades learning how to do.
I was impressed as I watched Sam, Bill, Tommy, and Jeff’s group editing their long collaborative essay. They had made copies of the essay for each person, and they sat quietly for perhaps 20 minutes -- reading, correcting, and discussing the paragraphs. They were as intensely involved as any adult committee would be. They discussed their work like a group of serious business people. Any passer-by would have thought, “There is a group of earnest students.”