Monday, February 27, 2012


When my teaching seems dull and lack-luster, when there seems to be no polish or flash in my classroom, I think sometimes of a useful analogy: students as diamonds. Years ago, someone explained to me that a diamond reveals its countless facets only when it is slowly spun in the light. If it always sits at one angle to the light, a diamond can actually appear almost uninteresting. Only by spinning it in as many ways as possible can an observer begin to appreciate the almost endless faces of its loveliness. It often helps me to think of my students as “diamonds” in that sense, and to imagine that it’s my task to keep “turning” them in the light. After all, if a diamond has a thousand facets to its beauty, each of my students must have a zillion. Far more than a diamond, a human being – any human being -- is a magnificent display of talents and class, and I see several dozen of them in my classroom each day. I’m surrounded by living diamonds from 8:30 to 3:00. However, I won’t notice much of their splendor unless I constantly spin them in the light. By planning scholarly and stimulating lessons, I must turn each of my students so they are able to show off another talent – another aspect of their magnificence. I must help them reveal their sometimes concealed brilliance, hour by hour, day by day. When visitors enter my classroom, I want them to be just as impressed as they would be if they were in the presence of a necklace of flawless diamonds.

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