Sunday, November 07, 2010

Where's the Love?

When a friend of mine received a seeming rebuff from his girlfriend the other day, for a while it seemed to him that all love had left his life, and, oddly enough, I have a feeling my students in English class share that feeling sometimes. Of course, we don’t deal with love in some traditional senses, but if love can mean the enjoyment of and appreciation for others, then there’s at least a modest supply of love in my classes. My students and I usually do our best to bring a feeling of friendship to our discussions, and all our smiles and nods and encouraging comments to each other are surely a kind of classroom love. It’s an atmosphere I try to foster in my classes – a sense of closeness and comradeship, a feeling of being fellow learners instead of opposing rivals. Nevertheless, now and then students, I’m sure, feel that friendship is miles away from Room 2 – students, perhaps, who have little success with essays or sit silent and isolated during discussions – and to those students, and my friend, love probably seems faded and far-off. To them, it’s like love is a bank account that’s been closed for good. What I hope my friend and my students can come to understand is that love is not a material commodity, like dollars or diamond rings or pieces of paper with ‘A’s at the top. Things like love and friendliness and appreciation and cordiality are made of something way different than a material that starts and stops and breaks down and dies away. They're like the wind that has no starting or finishing place, or like the everlasting sunshine, always with my friend and my students and all of us, steady and supportive behind even the occasional covers of our personal clouds.

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