Monday, March 30, 2009

"Canal Reflections", oil on wood panel, by Sheila Vaughan

Teaching Journal
Day 113, Monday, March 30, 2009

     On this, the first morning back after a long vacation, I was again reminded of how easy this job of mine is. In some ways, teaching these kids is as simple as breathing in and breathing out. It’s a straightforward process of giving and receiving: I give what I have learned to the scholars, and I receive, in turn, their youthful zeal and wisdom. Whatever labor I might engage in is as effortless as the labor of treelimbs moving in the wind. I work hard, yes, but it’s like the unforced and painless work of clouds passing overhead.
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     Speaking of the wisdom of the scholars, I noticed more of that today in our discussions about a poem. It was a somewhat complex and inscrutable poem, and yet many of the students showed insightful perception as they shared their thoughts about it. There was an astuteness in their comments that we don’t ordinarily associate with thirteen-year-olds. One boy in particular, a lad who thinks of himself, I’m afraid, as somewhat of an academic failure, demonstrated a wonderful kind of fresh and free-spirited understanding of the poem. Several times he surprised all of us with his discernment of some intricate inner meanings. I praised him, and I was happy to notice him smiling shyly over his accomplishment.

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