sagacity. The poet William Wordsworth, in his “Intimations Ode”, seemed to understand what happens to some kids as they grow up and “[s]hades of the prison-house begin to close / [u]pon” them – shades pulled down by the various confining notions and practices of our culture. It happens mostly, I think, because we simply don’t believe children can be wise on their own – that, to use Wordsworth again, they don’t bring any “clouds of glory” with them in their youth, but must be taught to be wise by adults. I’ve seen it differently for many years – seen teenagers take me into the heart of poems, teach me truths about writing, show me new secrets about novels. Certainly I’ve taught them valuable things (I hope) from my advantageous adult perspective, but from the fresh and shining perspective of youth, my students have been my teachers as well. Perhaps that’s why I hope to uncover the wealth of wisdom they already possess – so I can be their student as well as their teacher.
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