Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Moody Tart", by Halima Washington

Teaching Journal

Day 79, Wednesday, January 21, 2009

This morning, as one class was beginning, I noticed some students dawdling at the door to my classroom, looking at the photos on my door. I was tempted to speak up and encourage them to come in, but thankfully I resisted the temptation. They looked at the pictures for maybe ten more seconds, and then entered, sat down, and opened their books. The dawdling hadn’t, after all, interfered with their learning. It’s interesting to think about the consequences if I had spoken up and asked them to stop looking at the photos. Perhaps they would have entered the room twenty seconds sooner, or maybe even one full minute sooner, but how would they have entered? Wouldn’t they perhaps have carried a slightly larger load of stress on their backs because I had not allowed them to loosen up for a few seconds? Wouldn’t their minds feel slightly more edgy and tense because yet another teacher had rushed them along in order to save twenty or thirty seconds? Wouldn’t the doors of their hearts be just a wee bit more closed because I was more interested in the quantity of time than the quality of learning? It’s a strange passion we teachers have for hurrying our students, as if speed can make them succeed, as if haste doesn’t inexorably lead to waste. Over the years I’ve done my share of pushing, browbeating, hurrying, and driving students like so many racehorses, but I’m done with that now. In my class there’s a place for a little healthy dawdling now and then. I just noticed a snowflake dawdling along in the air as it lived its brief life, and it looked quite beautiful. Come to think of it, the students passing a few seconds looking at photos on my door did too. 

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