Thursday, October 11, 2012


Recently someone told me they had learned a poem “by heart”, and it started me thinking about what I have learned by heart about teaching – or rather, what truths and rules have resided in my heart right from the start.  These are truths that no one had to help me learn, rules that were born in me when I was born. I struggle to be the best teacher I can be, but there’s no struggle involved in following the laws that live inside me, and inside my students. They are as much a part of me as daylight is part of dawn. One of these rules is that this present moment – this 9:42 or 1:17 in the classroom with my students – is the only moment that has any power. All things in our future follow from this moment, and are made by it. The words I speak to my students at any specific moment today are tied up with all my past and future words, and all the words the world has spoken since it started – and my small words have all the universe’s forces unfolding within them.  These words – and this is another rule that resides forever in my heart – are always made from thoughts, and these thoughts make up the only real authority in my classroom. My students and I come from thoughts, we are transformed, moment by moment, by thoughts, and we follow our thoughts like the leaders they are.  An idea at 10:33 in Marion’s mind makes her what she is, and a new thought at 10:34 refreshes and reforms her into something new. This is the way it has to be. It’s a law that lives in our blood and bones. The present moment – its words and thoughts -- is the only real moment, and it makes my classroom, and everywhere, a place of  non-stop, hard-working wonders.

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