Friday, March 16, 2012


Occasionally there is a scattered lack of attentiveness in my classes, and this morning I checked a dictionary and found that one of the definitions for “attend” is “to accompany or wait upon someone as a companion or servant.” I like that, because it suggests that paying attention during class should be something we do not just out of some humdrum habit, but because we sincerely care about everyone in the class. We want to be a proper companion for our classmates, and so we attend to their needs by giving them our attention. We take care of them by being attentive when they have something they want to say. There are many important duties I have as my students’ English teacher, but surely none is more important than teaching them how to care for each other. Where to put commas and participles in a paragraph are relatively insignificant skills when compared to the skill of being decent to the people around them. I want to show my students how to be serious readers and writers, but I am far more concerned about helping them become seriously caring people. Being kind to others, being observant of their needs, is not an easy skill to learn. Much more than learning how to use participles, attending to others when they want to share an idea or a feeling requires tireless faithfulness. My students and I have to push ourselves, day after day, to practice this essential skill of paying close and caring attention to others.

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