Friday, June 29, 2012
STARS, PLANETS, AND CLASSROOMS
In pensive, solitary moments, I sometimes see my classroom as a small universe itself. Like the planets and stars, my students and I are constantly moving in flawless harmony, even though it may not always appear to be so. Just as the stars may seem to be scattered in confusion across the sky, so my classroom may seem to a visitor to be abuzz with disorder. A trained observer, though, would see nothing but harmonious patterns in the distant night sky, just as someone who understands how teaching and learning works might (I hope) sense the intrinsic order in my class. Each star and planet shines and moves in its own well-ordered way, and each of us in my classroom contributes something ship-shape and special to the class. Some students are shining suns, supplying light for others, while some are small planets that shine in others' light, faithfully follow their orbits, and bestow their own uncommon beauty to the class. And the roles can change: One day I might be the sun in the galaxy of my classes, whereas another day I might be in the distant surroundings, a small, almost imperceptible star on the outskirts of the discussion in my ever-harmonious classroom on a country road that is always, amazingly, just what it's supposed to be.