Sunday, December 25, 2011


“Gentlemen, you do me double wrong
To strive for that which resteth in my choice.
I am no breeching scholar in the schools,
I’ll not be tied to hours nor ’pointed times,
But learn my lessons as I please myself.”
-- Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew

These words of Bianca’s could easily have been spoken by my youthful students as they struggle with my “’pointed times” and painstaking, fussy lessons. Perhaps it occasionally (or always) seems strange to the students that something as magnificent as learning should be squeezed into 48-minute classes and step-by-step exercises. Perhaps it seems as silly as striving to stuff a breeze into a suitcase, or saying the word “sky” and thinking you’ve seized the truth about the measureless spaces above us. Bianca was scolding her tutors for thinking knowledge comes in convenient containers, and not in always rolling rivers of learning that we can take pleasure in as we please. She knows she’s not simply a name and number in a teacher’s class, but a participant in an everlasting process that pushes out past all finicky academic boundaries. Her tutors taught like automatons, but she knew she wasn’t “tied” to that kind of learning. The world looked wide and wonderful to young Bianca, just as I imagine it sometimes does to my restless, aspiring students as they sit in my 48-minute-classes trying to untangle the significance of lessons that may seem senseless when likened to the boundless wisdom always awaiting them in their unlimited lives.

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