Saturday, October 16, 2010

Joyful Teaching

A friend once told me that his definition of joy is simply “the expectation of good”, which, if he’s accurate, means that I have a joyful class every day. I fully look forward to good things happening in each of my classes – spanking new ideas, subtle transformations in students, surprising shifts and new understandings in discussions. Why shouldn’t I expect good, when I’m blessed with the presence of kids whose lives are unfurling with fresh thoughts each moment? Why shouldn’t good give us its gifts each day, when all of us in the classroom carry immeasurable goodness inside us? There are, for sure, times when I don’t feel this joy – when I seem certain that more problems than pleasures will arise in a class – and I must confess to not understanding why this attitude occasionally comes over me. It seems as silly as visiting the Grand Canyon and expecting more unsightliness than magnificence, or being given a thousand dollars and droning on about why it’s not a thousand and five. My students and I aren’t perfect, but neither, I guess, are sunsets and snowfalls, but they stir up some joy in me, sure enough, and so does every English class.

No comments: