“… the gentle spirit of moving words …”
-- Shakespeare, Two Gentlemen of Verona
I love this quote, mostly because it makes me feel like I’m doing something significant when I speak to my students with quietness and kindness. I rarely raise my voice in class, not because I don’t sometimes dislike my students’ behavior, but because soft, expressive words spoken with seriousness and purpose can present much more power than words raised up in displeasure. “The gentle spirit” of peaceful and unobtrusive words can work calm wonders, whereas words hurled like lances usually simply light the fires of misunderstanding and resentment. Especially if I can speak “moving words” – those that move the thoughts and feelings of my students the way soft, steady rains move rivers – I find that I can softly force the students to adjust their behaviors. In fact, I often picture myself as either a soothing sunrise or an easygoing fall of rain in the classroom, both of which can calm any of us as we work our way through a life or an English lesson.