Wednesday, March 25, 2009

"Painting at the Ruins, Ballycarberry Castle", oil on linen, by Roxanne Steed

An astonishing number of thoughts are generated in my English classes. The other day I calculated that, on a typical evening, my college students and I are together for around 145 minutes, which translates into about 8,700 separate moments. If I assume that each of us is entertaining a new thought during each of those moments, that means that my 18 students and I are producing somewhere around 165,000 ideas each night! Think of it: In our small, stuffy, and somewhat begrimed classroom in the middle of a fairly run-of-the-mill military base, a veritable explosion of thoughts occurs every Monday and Wednesday evening. Without even being aware of it, my scholars and I participate in a fireworks display of thinking each evening. Passersby in the hall, glancing in, might think we're just 19 typical people trying to survive another night class, but they would be dead wrong. They would miss completely the steady and astounding eruption of thoughts occurring in Room 319.

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