Tuesday, November 09, 2010

A Drop in the Bucket

Oil on pane by Carol Nelson
I occasionally like to reflect on this old saying, especially when I’m thinking, as I often do, about the vastness of the bucket called “teaching English”. I say thousands of words each day to my students, and I teach hundreds of lessons each year, but it is completely clear to me that these words and lessons are mere drops in a bucket that’s as big as the starry sky. If my students wanted to learn everything possible about reading, writing, thinking, and listening, it would take them not 180 days, but 180 years, the subject is that colossal. After all, in English class we deal with ideas, those short-lived but endlessly spacious and spread-out forces that preside over the world. Our bucket is indeed enormous, and my day-by-day instructions, as sincere as they may be, are just small tinklings in a container of incalculable proportions.

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