Today I wonder if I might, in fact, see something in my classroom that’s been right in front of my eyes all along. A similar thing happened this morning as I was climbing the hills near my house for my daily exercise. I passed a stone wall which I had passed numerous times before on other walks, but this morning, for some reason, I actually noticed the wall and the individual stones in it. I saw the separate stones with their distinct shapes and sizes, and I even noticed the various shades of gray in the stones. It was a strange daybreak revelation, as though the stones had magically materialized overnight. It started me thinking about my English classes, those daily 48-minute episodes which I sometimes pass through like a ghost going somewhere in a hurry. How many small but significant occurrences have I completely missed in my classes because I was focused on my particular prearranged agendas and goals? How many students, far more fascinating than a stone wall, have I passed over with scarcely a glance as I sped on to the next step in my lesson? I sometimes compare myself to someone sitting at the edge of the Grand Canyon with a blindfold on. My students – and I say this with all seriousness – are way more amazing than the Grand Canyon, and yet I walk into my classroom each morning like it’s just a run-of-the-mill room on a commonplace country road. Today, perhaps I can get rid of the blindfold and see what’s in front of me – not cliffs and ravines, but astounding teenage human beings, breaking, right before my eyes, into adulthood.
© 2010 Hamilton Salsich