I’m hoping to continue to develop both boldness and meekness in my teaching, and I hope my students do the same in their schoolwork. I want to be ever more fearless but still humble – always ready to risk failure by following an unproven path in a lesson, but also ready to recognize that my meager efforts are no more special than a puff of air in the immeasurable weather system of the earth. Likewise, my students should be audacious but unassuming in their approach to English class. They need to take the necessary gambles as they get fresh sentences together for an essay, but they must also keep in mind how modest their understanding is in the face of the far reaches of wisdom in this world. In our small countryside classroom, my students and I need to be stalwart but self-effacing explorers – looking for glory but also for the grandness of the world of which we’re an infinitesimal part. It’s not easy to be both bold and meek. It’s not a simple thing, for instance, to send students off on a stressful assignment and still stay humble enough to realize that you really have no sure idea whether the assignment will be successful or second-rate. Likewise, it takes some effort on a student’s part to stand firm in an opinion about a poem and yet be completely open to other interpretations. I often think of mountains in this regard. A mountain is a bold presence as it stands sturdily among the clouds, but you might say it’s also modest enough to submit to the machinations of rain, snow, wind, and countless other powerful influences. It knows its brave but unprivileged place in the universe, and so should my students and me.
© 2010 Hamilton Salsich
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