Tuesday, March 01, 2011


"Lavender and Wildflowers", pastel,
by Karen Margulis
I have a friend who loves to use the word “accordingly”, and lately I’ve found myself applying it to my teaching. Since good teaching grows, most of all, from a good heart, the word works best for me when I remember that it comes from the Latin word for “heart”. When I teach accordingly, I teach from the heart (Latin: “cors”), meaning my lessons are molded more by the feelings and inspirations I sense flowing in and around me, than from solitary, static ideas. Teaching, for me, is more like opening than making: I try to simply swing open the door of my life and see what English lessons are waiting to walk in. Teaching “accordingly” also means teaching in accord with my students – teaching so our thoughts and words work in concert instead of singly, more like congenial travelers than separate teacher and separate students. Of course, we are separate, since they are children and I am an adult entrusted with indispensable duties as one of their teachers, but still, it’s possible that our hearts and minds can make the necessary journeys together, or accordingly. “A teacher and his students should work together,” I want to tell them from the heart (with thanks to Robert Frost*), “whether they work together or apart.”
* See “A Tuft of Flowers”

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