Friday, March 30, 2012


"Morning Star", oil, by V... Vaughn
An old idiom speaks of “blessings in disguise”, the kinds of blessings I feel are fully present in my English classes. They’re usually in disguise because they don’t seem sparkling and shining with good news – don’t appear to be obvious presents from the universe for my students and me. They usually hide from us as we work on our classroom tasks, somewhat the way the stars are concealed among clouds on stormy nights.  As we discuss stories and poems and ways to write paragraphs, these blessings are quietly wishing us well and waiting to help. They most often come in the form of the resilient and lighthearted wisdom of the students. The kids don’t realize it, but they come to class already with cartloads of understanding, and all of it unfolds, usually secretly, at various points in the school year. Like secret stashes of dollars, their youthful intelligence generates wealth in unobtrusive ways from day to day and week to week. I can sometimes sense it all around me in the classroom – this lavish wisdom of adolescence that usually comes disguised as either silliness or indifference. I’m still learning, after 4+ decades, to see through the disguises to the blessings.

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