Friday, August 19, 2011


"One Room Schoolhouse, Wyoming", oil, by George Coll
I require my students to sit up fairly straight during class, and it occurred to me this morning that this is somewhat similar to my requirements for reading and writing. Sitting up in class, to me, is an act of dignity, and I also expect a certain kind of dignity in the students' reading and writing. Sitting up is the opposite of slouching and lounging, just as writing and reading with single-mindedness and precision is the opposite of throwing yourself heedlessly through assignments. Living with dignity means living in a thoughtful and respectful manner, something I expect of my students in both their posture and their school work. In reading, this means reading written words with the kind of deliberation and care with which they were written. In writing, it means making each sentence shine with as much precision as possible, as though all the words are proudly sitting up straight in their assigned places, like my industrious and dignified students during class.

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