When things in my English classes seem fairly monotonous, it helps me to recall that, actually, monotony is an impossibility – in my classroom, and everywhere else. Monotony involves a lack of variety, but the truth is that all of life, all of reality, is filled with the rowdiest kind of variety. Every present moment is utterly unmarked and up-to-the-minute, as different from every other moment as one person is from another. Nothing old, nothing the same, ever happens; only the new-fangled and fresh come into existence each instant. My classroom, filled with its tired-looking teens, is actually
a hot-bed of constant transformation – newness being re-assembled every second. The students’ zillion cells are relentlessly re-shaping themselves – changing, adjusting, modifying, dying, being born. Jimmy in the second row is a brand-new Jimmy every second – new thoughts, new feelings, millions of new cells. A river changes every moment, but no faster than the life in my classroom. Even when the kids seem on the threshold of sleep, when all appears to be tedium and tiredness -- even then, their bodies, the air around them, the world outside, the far-flung stars, are in a state of splendid transformation. It can’t be stopped. No matter how sleepy my classroom seems, it’s actually an extravaganza of makeovers and renovations. I should be in a state of continuous astonishment just to be in the presence of such ceaseless stir and bustle.