Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Riding Waves

I have often watched my son body surfing (he’s an expert), and it has occasionally started me thinking about teaching. He seems utterly relaxed as he glides in with the wave, just the way I feel when I’m doing my best teaching. He’s not struggling with the surf, but simply allowing it to do its work – simply giving in, you might say, to the drive and direction of the wave, and similarly, when good things are happening in my classroom, I often feel like I’m allowing them to happen rather than making them happen. In a sense, we’re both going along for the ride – my son on waves and I on the never-ending energies of education. Of course, Matt has to be ready for constant surprises in the surf, as do I in my classroom of pulsating and restive teenagers. There’s no possible way to predict what the measureless ocean will send my son as he waits for a wave, just as there’s no way to correctly foretell how fortunes will fare during a 48-minute English class. He and I both have to be wise and flexible enough to shift, dip, and bend so as to bring ourselves in line with the powers confronting us – freewheeling surf and high-spirited students.

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