Day 73, Friday, January 9, 2009
During our usual Friday freestyle writing period, the 9th grade students produced some extraordinary sentences – in just about 10 minutes. They wrote while listening to a beautiful song by Barefoot Truth called “Leaving Ourselves Behind”, and perhaps it was the words of the song that inspired such surprisingly charming writing. When I read their sentences aloud to the class, with the song playing softly in the background, there was a pervasive sense of stillness and attentiveness in the room, and when I was finished, I thought sure I heard a soft, collective gasp from the students. This was special writing, and they knew it.
A typically quiet and reserved student was the ‘assistant teacher’ in her English class today, and what we all saw was seemingly a totally new person. Gone was the reticence, replaced by directness; gone was the shyness, replaced by gentle boldness. She spoke with a sense of authority and self-assurance. She was a dignified and compelling leader as she called upon her classmates and guided the class through a vocabulary lesson. I was enthralled as I watched her. After class I told her that she has what it takes to be a superb teacher someday, and she smiled as though she liked that possibility.