Sunday, March 1, 2015

A Teacher's Sleepless Nights

As a teacher, I go through sleepless nights trying to find just the right words and sounds and images to change my students lives, to make them see or feel things so strongly, that they will never quite be the same again. It might be a passage from W.E.B Dubois "The Souls of Black Folk"; it might be Billie Holliday singing "Strange Fruit," Sam Cooke singing "A Change Is Gonna Come" or Janis Joplin singing "Little Girl Blue"; it might be a scene from "The Grapes of Wrath" or "Cinderella Man": that brings to life what it meant to be crushed by the Great Depression and yet have the resiliance to fight back; It is those "moments of clarity" ( an expression I have borrowed from JZ) if I find can find them, which will make the classes I teach far more lasting in their impact than any simple array of facts.THIS is wherein the magic of teaching lies, at least for me. It is why I keep teaching. And fighting to preserve the art that teaching represents, which is under assault from every direction.