Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Puzzles and Teaching

On these snowy winter days, I’ve sometimes settled myself in front of a jigsaw puzzle for a few minutes at a time, hoping to find places for some pieces, and it often reminds me of putting the pieces of my English teaching together day by day. Doing a complex puzzle requires, above all, a certain kind of resigned and unruffled patience, and isn’t the same true of teaching middle school students? I can sit at the puzzle table for fifteen full minutes and find no good fit, and I feel a similar frustration in teaching a lesson when nothing seems to fit for minutes at a time. What’s wonderful, though, is that patience always produces results – a mystifying piece in the puzzle suddenly fits perfectly, and a lesson, out of the blue, brings itself together like a solved mystery. It simply takes sitting patiently at the puzzle table and waiting, and working patiently with my lesson plans while letting success come slowly into sight.

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