This morning, when I thought sure I saw some flames in the trees outside our house, I thought of how often I’m sure I see precisely what’s happening with my students. As it turned out, the flames were just the lights of several streetlamps shining and shifting in a breeze through the leaves, and more than occasionally my appraisal of my students is just as mistaken. If I assume that a student does not understand a sentence in story, I might be missing the wisdom that is showing him an understanding I had never considered. If the kids come through the door with an uninterested expression and I surmise that they won’t be motivated, I may have misjudged, and be met, when class starts, by focused faces and minds. My life, I’m afraid, is filled with mirages and misunderstandings, like the fires I thought I saw this morning, and the unawareness I sometimes think I see in my secretly astute young scholars.
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