Sunday, June 09, 2013


Yesterday, after my last graduation ceremony at the school where I’ve been teaching for 35 years, a surprising thought came to me: Now I can begin being a full-time teacher. The sky was clearing after days of storms, and my mind seemed to be clearing also – seemed to be seeing previously unseen and somewhat startling possibilities. Teaching, it seemed for those few moments, is not just about being in a classroom with students, but about living a teaching kind of life. It’s about teaching all the time, and tirelessly, and with the same steadiness with which I breathe and think. It’s about teaching not just how to read and write, but how to live a loyal and lighthearted life. I realized, as I drove home from graduation with Delycia, that now I’m starting a new kind of teaching career -- as a street instructor, so to speak, a moment-by-moment mentor, a casual kind of coach, a tutor who takes on students anytime and anywhere. In the years to come, I can teach in countless ways -- by talking courteously to a store clerk, by picking up something someone dropped, by listening with honest interest to anyone anywhere. Most importantly, I can teach myself by treating each moment as both a puzzle and a playful partner. I can prepare lesson plans on how I can praise each hour. I can lecture myself on letting go and lightening up. I can give myself quizzes on caring and sharing. My classroom can be our couch or a street corner or the silent seashore at night. In this new career, I can live and teach like my lungs lift and fall, steadily and necessarily.  

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