A church-going friend used to say that his faith was founded on a rock, and lately I’ve been looking at my classroom that way, as being built on a basis that can’t be shaken. I don’t mean to suggest that I am some type of super-teacher who never knows struggle or failure, just that what happens in my classes comes from a firmer foundation than I ever thought possible. Truly, my teaching is as full of flops and catastrophes as anyone’s, but still, no matter how calamitous a lesson seems to be, I know that nothing can shake the steadfast foundation for learning that lies beneath my students and me. In the ocean, countless waves can crash, but the boundless waters beneath will still be there, flawless and unassailable. This foundation that rests below my teaching comes not from me and my meager abilities, nor from the type of religious faith my friend was referring to, but rather from the far-flung universe itself. Learning is as much a part of the cosmos as brightness is a part of sunshine. Whether we know it or not, new thoughts are being born in my students and me each moment, and it is these thoughts that spread out and sink down to depths to make the foundation for learning. Things may sometimes seem confused and even dysfunctional during my classes, but the vast sea of ideas is always spreading and progressing below us. All we need do is loosen ourselves and let this sea make itself felt, this limitless ocean of thoughts that keeps flowing for all of us all of the time.
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