Sunday, December 21, 2008

“… and Gareth … wrought
All kind of service with a noble ease
That graced the lowliest act in doing it.”
-- Alfred Lord Tennyson, “The Idylls of the King”

I think of teaching as service. I’m the servant of the students and their parents, not in a submissive way, but in the best sense of the word ‘servant’ – one who helps others. Like Gareth in Tennyson’s poem, I hope I can perform my teaching duties ‘with a noble ease’ – a wonderful phrase implying both dignity and effortlessness. Indeed, I find teaching, more and more, to be the most demanding, the most august, the most venerable activity I’ve ever been involved in, but also, paradoxically, the simplest and easiest. ‘The lowliest act’ I have to perform in the classroom seems to me to be ‘graced’ with an otherworldly kind of ease and splendor.

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