In my English class right now, we are currently reading the play “Our Town” by Thornton Wilder.
Although I have read it many times, this year especially I am noticing its simple beauty. Set in the fictional town of Grover’s Corners, N.H., the three acts chronicle The Daily Life, Love and Marriage and Death of what has come to be known as an “every town”.
The funny thing is that while I stood in front of the class with my own planned interpretations of the play’s important thematic ideas, I soon found myself learning from my students’ simple, yet profound ideas that are only supposed to be grasped by learned adults.
Through this unit, my students have taught me that although human beings aren’t perfect in and of themselves, the ways in which we support, challenge and balance each other out, make us perfect together. They reminded me that true happiness can’t be appreciated without moments of sorrow. They helped me see that the more we try to cram into our days, the less we truly do.
Shortly after the last bell rang, I soon found their lessons extending beyond the classroom for me.
I always say: happiness, that’s the great thing! The important thing is to be happy.
I measured my day today in Braxton’s giggles and a moment of uncontrollable laughter with Anthony. The feeling of pride I had in a well-crafted lesson and a shared moment with a student.
Do any human beings realize life while they live it — every minute?
For each hurried moment, I balanced it with a pause to take in all I might be missing. After a morning of telling Braxton what he couldn’t do, preparing dinner became an opportunity to do the same “as mommy do” giving him tasks he could complete, rather than explaining what he couldn’t do.
Every child born is nature’s attempt to make a perfect human being.
I want to try to make room for the ways in which the conflicting personalities in my classroom, the disagreeable colleagues or challenging interactions with students are balanced by those I agree with, see eye-to-eye on and interact with effortlessly.
One of my favorite parts of teaching is how much I learn myself. I spend a great deal of time planning out how I might influence my students to see the larger themes of our novels in their own lives. However, even after a decade of teaching, I continue to be surprised by the ways in which they help me do the same.
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