Tuesday, February 07, 2012


Sometimes, when English class seems as uninteresting and stationary as a stone, I recall a friend telling me about a passage in the Bible where someone strikes a rock and water flows freely out through a wasteland like a stream. I think of this story occasionally, especially when my students are silent like stones and my lesson looks more like a lost trail than a street that leads to wisdom. There are days when daydreaming works more magic in my classroom than any teaching tricks I might use – days when mental darkness drops down upon my students and me, no matter how many meticulous plans I have made. The sunshine might be magnificent outside, but in Room 2 there is sometimes a shadowy kind of world-weariness. That is when I picture the rock being struck and something fresh and gratifying flowing out. I see solidness turning into liveliness, and boredom becoming the bright lights of curiosity and enthusiasm. I see mountains making rivers of lava, and dark days breaking open into sunshine. I dream of old ideas suddenly dancing, and dead words working with heartiness once again. It doesn’t always happen this way in English class – sometimes the tediousness is just too rock-solid – but there are moments when, yes, it seems like someone suddenly opens a rock and a river of thoughts start streaming through the classroom as we all sit stunned and pleased.

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