At this time of year, seeds of all kinds are spreading themselves out to silently wait for springtime, and it’s even happening in my classroom. Trees are turning into resourceful seed factories, and so are my students – and so is my teaching. Just as seeds are settling into the grass to wait for warm weather, ideas by the dozens and thousands are establishing themselves in the soil of the minds in my classroom. Trees don’t start to die in the fall when leaves fall off, but actually start to live in stronger ways through their seeds, and my students, too, set out new possible ways to live and learn in the thoughts that shape themselves inside them during English class. We just talk of stories and poems and punctuation rules, but the presence of new thoughts, even the simplest ones, means the presence of fresh ways of seeing life, and living it. In the eyes of my students I sometimes see the lights of ideas that have been formed in the last few minutes, like seeds in trees on these autumn days, and I know those ideas, however seemingly unexceptional, will not die but will live in secret ways inside them and sprout when their times arrive. I’m a teacher but also a planter, a gardener, a good farmer who gets his crops growing in ways greater than last year. I teach lessons, but that’s sometimes simply letting things alone so the seeds of the students’ thoughts will naturally and inescapably sprout, if only in the far off future, in the many springtimes of their inner lives.
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