“… his negative mind was as diffusive as fog, clinging to all objects, and spoiling all contact.”
- George Eliot, Daniel Deronda
I hope it doesn’t happen often, but there are definitely days when I am probably little more than a fog machine in my classroom. These are days when, for murky reasons, I bring a “negative mind” to class, much like Grandcourt in Eliot’s novel carries his clouds of unconstructive and pessimistic thoughts wherever he goes. I’m sure I’m usually unaware of the force of my occasionally unenthusiastic and depressing thoughts, and so they spread their fog through the classroom room unobtrusively, while I go unsuspectingly on with my lesson. On those gloomy days of mine, I may see myself as playing my usual role as a well-prepared teacher, but the students probably see fog flowing out from my overcast face – the fog of down-in-the-dumps moodiness. It’s always astounding to me to realize how powerful a teacher’s presence is to students – how easy it is for his peacefulness or discontent to surround and infuse the students. Whatever a teacher is feeling flows out to the students, sometimes like agreeable and uplifting light, but sometimes, unfortunately, like stifling fog. There’s more than enough light in my life to carry some to the classroom each day; I just need to leave the fog machine at home.