Tuesday, March 16, 2010


         It occurred to me this afternoon that waving is what my students and I should be doing more of in English class. I was sitting in a friend’s house, watching some tall trees waving in the wind, and I was impressed with how stress-free they seemed as they swayed and slanted this way and that.  They were waving the way waves in the ocean do – with total spontaneity and ease. Of course, sometimes, as the wind strayed away, they came to rest for a few moments, and their rest also seemed simple and trouble-free. Watching from the window, I realized that my students and I could learn a lesson from these compliant trees. We are all faced with the inconstant winds of responsibilities, assignments, schedules, successes, and disillusionments, and our best approach is to adjust ourselves to their quirks and foibles. We need to bend and bow, not diffidently but daringly, like the trees that lean almost, but not quite, to cracking.  When we’re reading, we must flow with the waving of the words, getting lost sometimes in the movements of phrases and paragraphs. When we’re writing, our thoughts blow strong and soft, blustery and easygoing, and our best bet is to tag along behind, doing what they do, writing the words they say.  It’s interesting, too, to think of another meaning for “wave” – that motion of our arms and hands that signals hello or goodbye. Sometimes I wave to my students as they leave the classroom, a small gesture to show, perhaps, that I like to live like trees do. My arm waves back and forth like life moves in waves all day long, in English class and out.

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