When I complain about my students’ spells of weariness and lassitude, a colleague sometimes consoles me by saying that, well, at least they’re breathing – and lately I’ve been rather appreciative of that fact. After all, it is a major miracle, this breathing thing – this steady rising and falling of lungs as I’m teaching about Blake’s poems or the uses of prepositions. No matter how helpless my students seem in trying to understand a Shakespeare sonnet, their young bodies are performing soundless miracles moment by moment during class. They may be far-gone on daydreams while I’m droning on about Emily Dickinson’s dry humor, but their lungs are lightly and easily doing their astonishing work. I might remember this when my students’ thoughts seem as flimsy as far off clouds – remember that miracles are always happening in Room 2, no matter how low down my lesson falls.
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