Monday, February 16, 2009

"Charleston Stroll", oil on board, by Mike Rooney

Teaching Journal

Monday, February 16, 2009

Presidents Day


     This morning I’m thinking about the word “interesting”, and how it might apply to my work as a middle school English teacher. What immediately comes to mind is that I should find everything that happens in my classroom interesting. I should be like an awestruck child, thoroughly flabbergasted by everything I see and hear during class. I should move around the room in a daze of astonishment, unable to fully absorb the amazing events that are occurring. This may seem like an exaggeration, but isn’t it a fact that each moment is entirely new and fresh? Isn’t it a fact that nothing exactly like this moment has ever occurred before in the history of the universe? And aren’t we usually at least somewhat amazed when he see or hear something totally new? This is what happens in my classroom every day – the birth, over and over, of completely original ideas, feelings, and actions. My students and I – like all of us all the time – are witnessing creation, again and again, during every class. Shouldn’t this process be intensely interesting to me? Shouldn’t I sometimes stand back from my desk in total amazement and just watch and admire? 

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     I’m writing this while my college students are writing essays in the computer lab at the college. A moment ago, I was listening on my iPod to a Mozart violin concerto as the students tapped away on their keyboards, and the contrast made an impression on me. Here were my students hunched over their books and notes, staring at the screens with intensity and uneasiness, and here was their professor floating away on the silken harmonies of Mozart. It was like those days when sunshine and storms seem to live side by side; the students were in the midst of thunder and lightning while I was relaxing in the sun. The students were being soaked by insights and frustrations, but I was high and dry in violins and horns

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