Thursday, January 27, 2011


"Snow on the Barn", oil, by Chris Greco
Every so often, when I start struggling with worries about my teaching – usually about whether wonderful ideas will ever come again to my students and me – I think of the furnace in my cellar, and how I’ve discovered that I can simply trust it. On ice-covered winter days, when the temperature steadily stays close to zero, it’s reassuring to hear the big furnace come on beneath me with a soft, comforting explosion. Within seconds, I hear the hot water humming through the baseboard pipes, and I’m once again reassured that reasonable warmth will be with me. Even when the forecast calls for days of downright blizzard conditions, I know I can trust the affable furnace to fashion a perfect kind of comfort for me. Likewise, I’ve learned to trust the “furnace” of our minds – my students’ and mine – as we go about the toil of teaching and learning. I know that I don’t have to make my own heat in my house, because the furnace does it for me, and I know, too, that my students and I don’t have to fret about where ideas will come from, for there’s a furnace inside us that’s always working, whether we’re aware of its work or not. This is a furnace that fashions ideas faster than we can keep up with them, and all we need is the confidence that comes from trusting its work. We simply have to believe in the brainpower inside us, just as I must trust that massive maker of warmth in my cellar.

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