Friday, August 31, 2012


     I’m sure my students don’t usually think of English class as a place that produces great truths, but I do – and I dare to hope that the students might see some of these truths during my classes.  We just study words and rules about the use of words and how to help words come together in sharp and graceful sentences, but out of those studies can sometimes arise realizations that can transform lives. I’ve seen it in myself – a sudden understanding of what sorrow means while discussing a story with students, or a swift and new awareness of the significance of gladness while studying some lines from Shakespeare, or simply fresh thoughts flowing like a waterfall from listening to a student say what she likes in a poem.  I’ve seen a new truth take wing out of just a few short phrases from a story, and I’ve felt myself, countless times, turn into new person, if just for a few seconds, after searching through some sentences in a novel.  This has happened to my students, I’m sure. I’ve seen faces go flush with understanding during a discussion, and heads nod with delight after listening to a classmate clarify the meaning of a poem. I’ve heard words of wisdom on Wednesday from kids who were adrift in confusion on Tuesday. It can happen, yes. The truths of the universe can call out to any of us at anytime, even to teenagers and their timeworn teacher in a fairly conventional classroom on a quiet country lane.  

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