Monday, January 23, 2012


"Easy Float", oil, by Don Gray
Yesterday, when I heard someone say their single goal for this year is to become lighter and stronger, I said to myself, “Yes, and that’s my single goal for my students.” The kids in my classes often come slumping into my room as though they are bearing the burdens of heavy cares and concerns, and I would love to lighten that load. I’m supposed to simply teach the English curriculum, but certainly that must include caring for my students, and to care for someone is to seek to help them find how light life can feel. I want to show the students how to compose successful essays, yes, but in the process I hope to help them “lighten up” so they can sail and soar in my class instead of wilt and sag. Surprisingly, this lightness, this nimbleness and buoyancy I want them to feel, also implies a certain kind of strength. If they are feeling buoyant, then chances are they are feeling lighthearted, which suggests they will find the strength necessary to move through serious works of literature with ease and suppleness. If their lives feel light to them, the tasks they undertake for me may feel light as well – light and alluring and perhaps even pleasurable, easy jobs for someone who feels both limber and well-made.

No comments: