“This affliction has a taste as sweet
As any cordial comfort.”
-- Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale
There are many “afflictions” that might muddle a teacher’s work in the classroom, but all of them, I have found, can be as reassuring and bolstering as a “cordial comfort”, if only I see them in the best light. There are times when I totter through a lesson like something set to collapse, times when all that seems reassuring is the realization that the period will soon end -- but even then, some strange power usually arises to remind me how blessed I am to be standing in this classroom with these splendid kids. These are students who shine with an inner light that can let my classroom come to life, if only I take off the blinders. Any inconvenience that comes my way when I’m teaching should only serve to remind me of how, almost always, my classroom work is as easy and painless as any. A cordial is a drink that supposedly brings a sense of warm-heartedness to an after-dinner occasion, and any seeming disaster in the classroom can do the same. When things fall apart, I often find myself smiling and thinking how fortunate I am that such small adversities are so thoroughly overshadowed by the enormous satisfactions of teaching teenagers.