Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Happy to Be Passed
Early this school year, I’m going to tell my students that I’m pleased to be passed so often, both by drivers and readers. I will tell them that I almost always drive in a measured and restful way, which means I spend most of my road time seeing cars speed past me. I find driving to be a fairly soothing experience, partly because I can usually notice a number of interesting sights along the way, and partly because it gives my mind a chance to slow down and settle – so I’m never in a hurry to finish a drive. True, I occasionally arrive at my destination a few minutes late, but the pleasurable and sometimes inspiring ride always seems to justify it. I only hope the speedy drivers who pass me find as much satisfaction in racing on the roads as I find in dawdling along in peace. I’m also going to tell the students that I’m an easy-going and sometimes rambling reader. I read most books the way I drive cars – unhurriedly and observantly, always alert for special sightings along the way. I’m often reminded that most of my friends read much faster than I do, and thus finish far more books in a given time, but it doesn’t worry me that I would be passed by countless readers as I hang around the pages of a novel, turning them slowly and dotingly. I never understood the importance of speed-reading, but I don’t dismiss it; some readers and drivers enjoy rushing along, and others – like me – enjoy a more relaxed pace. Will I encourage my students to read slowly? Of course not. They must gradually develop their own favorite paces and methods in their reading, and of course there are different speeds for different assignments. I’ll just tell them about their slow-driving teacher who also drives through books like he’s looking for bright highlights on every page.