I wish I could notice things in my classes the way I noticed the scraping and scratching sounds my sneakers made on the sidewalk early this morning as I took my daily exercise. Because I tried to be especially focused, I seemed to hear even the smallest sounds – the closing of a door down the street, the flapping of a flag around a corner, even the scuffing of my shoes on the sidewalk. There were small stones on the sidewalk here and there, and my sneakers made slightly different sounds on every cluster of stones. As I listened to my footsteps, I felt like a scientist studying the characteristics of sound variations. It made me wonder if I need to be more of a scientist in my English classes – more of an acute observer of the occurrences that come to pass when the students and I come together. I could set a challenge for myself before each class: How many new and remarkable things can I notice? I set out this morning to be a sharp and observant walker, and maybe I need to set a similar task for myself as I prepare for a class. When scientists are observing phenomena, they use tools like microscopes and telescopes, but my fairly fit eyes and ears are the only tools I need in the classroom. I simply need to look and listen with sincerity. There are things to see and hear in Room 2 that are far more fascinating than sneakers brushing across cement at six on a May morning.
© 2010 Hamilton Salsich