Friday, December 19, 2008

Teaching Journal
Day 68, Thursday, December 18

There was an explosion of gift-giving today, the last before Christmas vacation, and it started me thinking about the gifts exchanged during my English classes. While I listened to the tumult down the hall as the kids unwrapped presents and guffawed with glee, I thought about the quieter kind of gift-giving that happens every day in my classes (and all classes, no doubt). Every smile, every friendly glance during class, is a present as sincerely offered as any gaily-wrapped gift. Each nod of a head toward a speaker is a generous offering of friendship, and every spoken word in a discussion is a gift bestowed on the rest of us, a small treasure that will unfold its effects inside us in ways beyond our knowing. Also, at the end of each of my classes, we try to remember to thank each other as a way of exchanging the gift of gratitude. Yes, there was wild unwrapping and hugging and celebrating in the halls today, but I realized, as I listened to the merriment, that we do our own kind of more modest giving during every English class.

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