Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Teaching Journal
Day 57, Wednesday, December 3, 2008

As I was planning today’s lessons yesterday afternoon, it occurred to me that ‘I’ don’t really do the planning, just as I don’t plan what thoughts will arise today or how the winds will blow across the school campus. Ideas came to mind yesterday in the planning process, but where they came from or what power originated them is beyond my understanding. They simply suggested themselves to me, and somehow the ‘best’ ideas separated themselves and become part of today’s lesson plan. It’s silliness to pretend that some separate, isolated person called Hamilton Salsich ‘makes’ a lesson plan by himself. All of the ideas that are put to use in my classroom come not from any particular individual, but from the boundless cosmos of ideas. On their endless journeys, thoughts drop into Room 2 for a short stay before sailing on to other rooms and other people. All I do is humbly welcome them.
In the first 9th grade class this morning, I got the feeling that the kids hadn’t understand much of the reading in “A Christmas Carol” last night. It’s certainly a tricky and demanding story, and it may also be that the students simply weren’t as alert during the reading as they might have been. In any case, the glory and power of the story passed them by last night, so it’s my duty to slow the pace down and do some watchful re-reading and conversing with the students. If we miss a miracle the first time around, wouldn’t we go back for a second look?
“Majesty” is an interesting word that, surprisingly, can be related to teaching middle school English. One definition says the word means “a deeply impressive and dignified quality”, which is what I see every day in my classes. In one way or another, I am always thoroughly impressed with each of my students each day. They are not always superior scholars of reading and writing, and they (like all of us) sometimes make mistakes, but they are always excellent human beings. Always. I see an inner dignity in each of them. They bring ingenuous and uncomplicated majesty to my classroom.

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