I spent some time shopping at a sprawling mall this morning, and it reminded me, improbably enough, of teaching in my tiny classroom. My room sprawls about as much as a closet does, but still, there’s a certain sense of spaciousness when the students and I are shopping in a mystifying novel for answers to its questions, or searching for the correct keys to crack open a poem. We go browsing among the mass of possible choices, just as a friend and I cruised through the various stores this morning. My friend and I finally found a few items to purchase – items that seemed to precisely fit our needs – and during English class, my students and I usually discover some useful truths in our daily shopping trips. Of course, all of this shopping, whether at the mall or in class, calls for a lot of leisurely looking and evaluating which leads, sometimes, to just a few special discoveries. After an hour or so of searching and assessing, I purchased just one small item this morning, and some English classes might generate just a few truths for the kids to take with them – but that seems to be the necessary way in mall or classroom shopping.