Thursday, March 10, 2011


I’m just a teacher of English, someone who hopes his students will understand prepositions and how to construct a levelheaded paragraph, but sometimes I do daydream about possibly being involved in the changing of lives. It occasionally occurs to me that all things are changing constantly, from the ever-veering clouds to the capricious cells inside me, so perhaps the same is true in my classroom. Perhaps, as the students sit and listen and speak in my class, their young lives are silently reconstructing themselves. It might be that small personal revolutions are continuously taking place right in front of me. After all, who can say how big a part a small poem might play in redesigning a ninth-grader’s life? Even two small words, like “Hey, Boo” at the end of To Kill a Mockingbird, might be able to take a teenager’s life and turn it topsy-turvy. I don’t pretend that I personally can take credit for altering my students’ lives, because I know better. I know that, like sunshine transforms mist into brightness, it’s the books they read and the words they speak and write in my class that might do some sizeable transforming, not just week by week but second by second. 

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