On my long commute to school in the darkness of these September mornings, I get pleasure from seeing the streetlights along the roads -- those small signals that let a little light down on the millions of us who make our way to our important places each day – and it often starts me thinking about my young wayfaring students. I long ago realized that my English courses are faint and shadowy roads for many of the students, and that a little light along the way sends strength for a successful journey. I don’t want to eliminate all the darkness, since darkness seems to be where wisdom is usually born, but I do want to set out a light now and then just to say, “This way, boys and girls.” In the midst of wandering off course in a chapter of A Tale of Two Cities
, a precise suggestion from me can bring some useful illumination to the scholars. It’s a cheery sight, at six-fifteen on a murky morning, to see so many lamps lit along the roads, and maybe my job is to make reading Dickens and writing essays a bit less obscure and mysterious by setting out, at sufficiently far-flung intervals to preserve some of the enriching darkness, a string of educational lights along the route.
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