Tuesday, January 26, 2010


        There will be some serious “planting” done in Room 2 today. My young students will be with me for roughly four hours, during which time we will create, among us, maybe 500,000 thoughts. We actually have no say in the matter. Whether we want them to or not, our minds are constantly manufacturing ideas, sending out thoughts like seed-spreaders. It’s as if there’s a factory inside us that works nonstop to produce a ceaseless stream of thoughts.  What’s interesting to me is that these thoughts – all of them -- take root in our minds and sprout and send out shoots of other thoughts, minute by minute as my classes proceed.  My students and I are not aware of this process, of course, but it’s happening nonetheless – a silent, incessant explosion and proliferation and dispersion of ideas inside us. I suppose many of our thoughts during my English classes simply fall into the soil of our lives and lie dormant for periods of time, perhaps even years – but I believe they never just disappear. Our teenage and senior-citizen minds are like vast meadows where thoughts beyond count rest beneath the surface, waiting for the right time to spring up and offer assistance. Some of these sleeping ideas were brought forth in English class, born during some bookish discussion or perhaps during one of the many daydreaming expeditions my students surely engage in while I’m teaching. It gives me satisfaction to know that no thought generated during my classes (or anyone’s classes) goes to waste, that every wandering, wayfaring idea inside our minds will be productive and helpful at some point. Years from now, a former student might be speaking with a friend, when suddenly, unbeknownst to her, old thoughts from 9th grade English might rise up in secret and show her the words to use. Or perhaps a former student might be suffering a great sorrow years from now, when somehow an idea born back in my class might come into blossom and bring light and relief.

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