Friday, September 25, 2009


When I was a student, I rarely thought, as I sat in class, “Ah, it is good for me to be here.” In fact, I was usually thinking it would be good if I were anywhere but this classroom. When I entered a classroom, I don’t recall ever thinking that I had fortuitously arrive at a magnificent place, or that magical intellectual makeovers could happen to me while I’m in this room, or that I might never forget what occurs in this upcoming class. However, what’s odd is that now, at the well-seasoned age of 68, I do think this way. After spending most of my life in a school of some sort, 44 of them as a teacher, I have at long last reached a point where school is, indeed, an extraordinary adventure for me. What I used to dream about when I sat bored and indolent in classroom after classroom as a student has finally come true: school has become a place of exhilaration and renovation for me. I can’t wait to get to school each morning. I can’t wait to see my students walk into my classroom for 8th grade English. I’m often actually downcast when the school day is over. Of course, I do have my bad days at school – many of them – but they’re like rainy days in a year at the Grand Canyon: I'm fairly sure it will be beautiful tomorrow. How did I get to this satisfying place in my professional life? How have I become a more excited, ambitious, and resourceful teacher in my senior years than I was as a foolhardy young instructor? Why do I feel younger than probably many of my youthful colleagues? Why do I feel like I’m playing in a sandbox when I’m teaching the poetry of Mary Oliver or the proper use of semicolons? I don’t know, but I do know that, when I’m in Room 2 on Barnes Road, it’s good for me to be there.

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