As the weeks of a school year pass, there are many classroom situations both my students and I would like to escape from, including ramshackle lesson plans, stifling air, and – more often than I like to admit – overpowering weariness. Occasionally in Room 2, we’re faced with conditions which seem to call for instant flight -- times when we’d all like to be anywhere but my classroom. Strangely enough, however, it’s times like those when my students and I, if we’re watchful, can catch sight of an important purpose of education - – learning how to stay instead of run. It’s a hard lesson to learn, for running away from difficult conditions is a widespread custom among humans, but in my small classroom in the country, perhaps I can offer some encouragement to my students – and myself – to stand and fight rather than run and hide. There are many situations in class that my students might surely call insufferable – going over grammar guidelines for the zillionth time, listening to Mr. Salsich explain yet again how to write a good closing paragraph, examining the crowded infrastructure of a James Joyce short story. If I can demonstrate a quiet endurance and open-mindedness when classroom conditions seem oppressive to me, perhaps my students will be able to learn something about calmly “staying” when things seem tiresome and everlasting to them. Staying is a vital skill for an English student and teacher – staying with a sentence you're writing until it’s transparent and graceful, staying with a page in a novel until nothing’s left but the wisdom of it, staying with a lesson plan until it rises above all the others you’ve ever made. It takes serenity and persistence, two of the major qualities of a flourishing adult, but this staying ability can be learned and loved, including during English class.
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