Day 61, Tuesday, December 9, 2008
SD One boy in the 9th grade had a genuine epiphany today, and all of us in the room benefited from it.CM We were discussing Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”, which we’ve been reading this month, and, just when I happened to turn to this student, he jumped a little in his seat, opened his eyes wider, and gave a small burst of enthusiasm. CM I quickly said, “Yes. What is it? What have you realized?” CM He proceeded to tell us, in a faltering, uncertain manner, that he had suddenly realized something about Scrooge, and he went on to explain it with great fervor. CM The students and I were totally attentive as we listened, for we sensed that this was a special moment. CS A lamp had turned on in this boy, and we were all in the glow of its light.
SD During a free period today, I was sitting in my classroom, surrounded by the holiday lights, when it suddenly came to me, with stunning and somewhat overwhelming clarity, how many people have contributed to my education. CM In a just a few seconds, I thought of a high school coach who taught me to be brave, a college history teacher who said I was ignorant because I was not a serious reader (he was right), another college professor who said I wasn’t working anywhere close to my potential (she was right), and my father who showed me how to be a scholar, a servant, a leader, and a gentleman. CM But even more ‘teachers’ flashed through my mind in those few moments -- nameless, forgotten people who, by just a few words or a gesture, showed me a better way. CM Sitting there in my classroom among the glimmering lights, I realized, to my shock, that the number of people who have taught me what it means to be a good human being is way too large to be counted. CS In my 67 years, literally thousands of people have helped me stay on the right path.
It was an overpowering fact to think about. I felt dazed -- and grateful beyond words.