Friday, April 09, 2010


         I often feel like playing a recording of reveille at the start of English class, just to rouse the students -- and me -- into some kind of wakefulness. I include myself in that statement because I am often just as unconscious as the kids often are – just as robotic, just as programmed, just as far away in my own preoccupied absentmindedness.  I always plan a careful lesson for each class, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be lost in a professional daze of sorts. My thoughts run like a teacher-machine throughout the school day, and I often need to be awakened to the fact that out-of- the-ordinary, mystifying, and relatively untamed teenage human beings are sitting in front of me, and that brilliant pieces of literature are under investigation. I also have to constantly bestir my students and myself to be sure we are staying observant for the messages and signals sent up from stories and poems. Like a sergeant rousing his sleepy soldiers on the front lines, I prowl among the students for the full 48 minutes, keeping them, and me, watchful for flares of new thoughts and bursts of surprising ideas. I verbally poke and prod all of us: stay awake, something’s coming, be ready. 
© 2010 Hamilton Salsich

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