Thursday, December 04, 2008

Teaching Journal
Day 58, Thursday, December 4, 2008

I was thinking this morning about my version of a familiar Bible quote – “Stand still and see the works of the Universe” – and how I might apply it to my work in the classroom today. Certainly I need to occasionally “stand still”, not necessarily physically, but mentally and emotionally. I need to intermittently stop talking, stop worrying about how the class is going, stop thinking a million thoughts at once, and just step back and see what’s happening. Whenever I do that, I’m sure I’ll see that what’s happening is quite worthy of note – 12 students thinking hundreds of new thoughts, 12 students speaking with each other in kind and clever ways, 12 students growing and transforming before my eyes. But I also need to step back now and then and give a moment’s thought to the rest of the ‘works’ of the grand universe we’re a part of. While the scholars and I are toiling away on our English tasks, countless numbers of people around the globe will be thinking happy thoughts, innumerable birds will be living their exceptional lives, and untold millions of stars will be twirling where they’ve been twirling for eons. All the works of the Universe are astounding beyond belief and deserve our attention and reverence. A few of them will be happening in Room 2 on Barnes Road.
I noticed a girl carefully stirring her hot chocolate as we were finishing the quiet reading period. It occurred to me that she was being as meticulous with that as she is with her work for English class – slowly sweeping the spoon around the edges of the cup to make sure all the powder was dissolved. As I glanced around the table, I could see that most of the other students were also enjoying their refreshments with attention and concentration, the same attitudes I expect of them when they do their reading and writing assignments.

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