Saturday, November 26, 2011


Since soccer, the so-called “beautiful game”, often seems endlessly tedious, I’ve decided to call my sometimes tiresome English classes “the beautiful classes”. When I watch a soccer match, I’m often lulled into a lack of expectation by the constant passing and back and forth with little or no noticeable excitement, and the same thing might happen to an observer in English class. She or he might hope something besides step-by-step lessons might happen – something besides kids and teacher talking quietly about a book in a not especially eye-catching classroom. A visitor might make the assumption that this is a fairly lackluster class taught by a fairly tame teacher, just as I might decide, when watching a slowly- progressing soccer match, that there are a thousand more thrilling things to do with my time. Sincere soccer aficionados, however, know that nothing is more beautiful than a carefully-crafted attack by a team that takes its patience seriously, and there’s a similar need for patience in practicing the art of teaching English. An earnest soccer team strives to set up fine-looking passing patterns that might produce a fine-looking goal or two, and in English class, we carry on in a similarly careful, and perhaps monotonous, manner, making comments and asking questions that might appear insignificant to a visitor, but that lead us slowly toward the goal of good learning. It’s an inevitably slow and painstaking process, this matter of making goals and knowledge, and lovers of soccer and teaching take seriously the measured and purposeful aspect of it all. There may be only a single goal in a game, and just a crumb of knowledge in a class, but the beauty of the process is priceless.

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