Monday, April 16, 2012


 I’ve grown to love the word “equanimity”, and the quietness and calmness it conveys has become one of my main goals as a teacher. Years ago, I was anything but calm in the classroom. There was a sort of restrained chaos in my classroom conduct, as though some storm was always fizzing just under the surface. I was respectful to my students, yes, but they surely could always sense the inspired disorder at the center of most of my actions. Now, though, there’s something else there – a quietness and calmness that has come to me as slowly and inescapably as the years have passed. Now, at the age of 70, I see that nothing in the classroom is cause for concern or despair – that all things somehow work as one for the success of all of us. I’ve seen countless situations where some seeming misbehavior by a student has shown us the way to a kind of fresh understanding, or where a mistaken reading has made it possible to prepare a whole new appreciation of a story or poem. The years have shown me that stillness and acceptance is the best way to work with anything that occurs in the classroom. I always hope I can pass along this attitude to my students. I hope they leave my classroom each day with a deeper awareness of the stillness at the center of any learning experience. I hope they see that storms and confusion are best brought to bay by a level-headedness that simply cannot be shaken.

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