Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


A Year of Morning Thanks

Good days

Yesterday things were popping in my lit class. It's a small group, and that's probably helpful; but for some uncharted reason, yesterday's class may well have been closer to a dream class--the perfect class like the perfect storm--than any I've been in for almost 40 years of teaching.

Assessment, for me, is in the eyes. When you see eyes that aren't dreamy or afar off, but instead are sharpened into a stare, when you see eyes that seem to strain to get it all in, that have a hungry look, then you're doing something, then you're winning.

I don't even remember their eyes yesterday. What I remember is the proliferation of hands. They just wanted to talk. We were going over poems, and they were leading the discussion. They were also doing all of the talking. I'd become little more than a moderator.

I must admit that I've never been very good at small group stuff because it's hard for me to give up the wheel in class. I'm an old dictator by nature, I guess, an old lecturer. Separate students into small groups and let them teach themselves--that sort of thing--I'm simply too old-fashioned. I sort of like a monarchy, as long as I'm the one with the sceptre. A democratic classroom is too messy. Give me a great lecture any day, as long as I'm doing the talking.

Yesterday I didn't lecture. Yesterday, they simply never ran out of things to say.

That kind of popping doesn't happen often, and I'm still not sure it was as good as it seemed. But then maybe I'm just an old scruffy Calvinist who finds it more than a little difficult to assess anything too smilingly. I do know this: I'll certainly take another good day like yesterday anytime.

This morning, I'm thankful, simply, for really good days.

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