Saturday, December 12, 2009


As the many years of my teaching career have passed (43 and counting), I have steadily become more curious about the peculiar work I’m called upon to do each day. To me, this enterprise of teaching the vagaries of the English language to teenagers has grown more bizarre each year. On most days, when I walk into my classroom I feel like I’m entering a space ship bound for nameless destinations. I basically fasten my seat belt, get my binoculars ready, and hang on. Any Star Trek lovers will quickly realize that this is exactly what makes teaching more and more exciting for me – the fundamentally weird and startling nature of the work. I can’t wait to get to school each day just to see what unexpected things will start happening as soon as the first class commences. Like a scientist in his lab, I am intrigued by what occurs in my classroom – the odd thoughts that arise in my students and me, the strange strings of words that float out of our mouths, the out-of-the-blue expressions that illumine our faces. The older I get, the more full of curiosity I get. Why did I plan this particular lesson? Why did Annie’s words come out in just that way? What dreams is Jason enjoying as he gazes out the window at a drifting hawk?

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