Wednesday, January 25, 2012


When I learned recently that the word “covenant” can be used as a verb, as in “We covenant on Wednesday evenings”, it occurred to me that, in fact, my students and I covenant in my classroom each day. Used in this way, you might say the word means “come together voluntarily to make an agreement”, which describes, fairly truthfully, what happens in my English classes. Of course, in one sense, the kids don’t come to my classroom voluntarily, but in another sense, I think they do, because I think they sincerely wish to become brighter and more sophisticated and better able to understand their bewildering world. They might not rush wholeheartedly to my classroom, but I believe they bring a real willingness to work hard for wisdom. I think they throw themselves into learning, in their own adolescent ways, as thoroughly as I throw myself into teaching. You could say we “covenant” each day because we agree, each in our special way, that it’s good to grow and give the good gift of education to ourselves – that being able to see the significance of the world around us is better than being blind. Fourteen-year-olds and old men like me are equally in favor of finding learning wherever we can, which is why we covenant, with care and accord, in a classroom in the countryside of Connecticut.


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