Monday, April 15, 2013


"I'll Fly Away", oil,
by Rick Nilson
Recently, on a blossoming spring afternoon, I was sitting in my classroom just after reading some essays by 9th graders, and I was feeling both appreciative and sad. The essays, one after another, were some of the best I've ever read. The students wrote about the lyrics of a melancholy song, and their sentences were as stately as the lines of the song. Some of the essays seemed nearly
 flawless, so that I read them as effortlessly as I might find my way across a spring hillside. I felt appreciative, of course, to be reading such tasteful writing, but I also felt sad, for this was close to the last set of essays by my last class of writers. Next year, I won't be privileged to read spirited and sometimes startling essays each week, and I'll seriously miss that pleasure. My students often thought with youthful daring and wrote with homespun magnificence. Reading their essays over the years, there were many times when I had to admit that the sentences I just read were as fine as any I could write. That's a shock for a teacher to realize, but it's also, I guess, an endorsement, because maybe it means I did my job. Maybe I've readied these young writers, this Pine Point class of 2013,  to fly off to their next fearless endeavors, and perhaps, sad as it sometimes seems, I’m ready to do the same.

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