Wednesday, October 24, 2012


“That cordial air made those kind people a hood/
All over…” 
-- from a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, “In the Valley of the Elwy”

     It’s always been my hope to have a cordial classroom, a place for people to come together in good-natured camaraderie. The very air in my room, I hope, has a happy feel about it, as though it’s found it’s special place among my students and me. The word “cordial” comes from the Latin word for “heart”, and indeed, there hopefully is a heartwarming quality in the air – a sense of pervasive and persistent kindness – as the students come in. Learning to use the wisdom the universe gives us to listen to the words of writers is what English class is all about, and being in a place of kindheartedness and consideration surely helps that process. In Hopkins’ words, it’s like having “a hood all over” us, a protective covering under which we can feel the influence of books and our own best thoughts.  

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