Friday, November 05, 2010

Wakeful Thinking

As a teacher, I’ve been accused, now and then, of what is called “wishful thinking”, but I prefer to think of it as wakeful thinking. The wishful thinker often manufactures castle-in-the-sky successes where no authentic accomplishments exist, whereas the wakeful thinker simply sees what’s actually right in front of him. This world is a place of ceaseless wonders, from leaves in the fall to the look on a face in front of a sunrise to the moves fingers make on a keyboard, and wakefulness works to help me see those wonders. My students are not perfect scholars, but every day they bring their individual miracles with them to class, and I gratefully watch for them. I’m talking about just about anything, because just about anything is a miracle – the way Milly gives her always surprising thoughts in a discussion, the way George turns in his seat in the sunshine from the window, the staring at the windows that Diana does when she wanders away in her mind, the steady smiles of Kyle. I try to think in a wakeful way because I don’t want to miss any of the countless little wonders that occur in every class. No, the kids don’t always connect with my lessons, and no, they don’t always behave like first-class boys and girls, but they can’t help but bring their miraculous lives with them when they enter my room. All their hearts are pumping with precision and their lungs are lifting and falling flawlessly, which are miracles enough for me to want to stay wakeful and watch these young wonders who do their English work with me each day.

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