I've been re-reading Alice In Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, which I do every couple of years. It seems to me that it has something of value to learn for us teachers. What Carroll says, in several ways, is that we have to be flexible, look for serendipitous moments to enjoy, and just quit worrying so much about doing things perfectly. I refer today to one set of words from chapter five:
"Who are YOU?" said the caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, "I--hardly
know, sir, just at present--at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must
have been changed several times since then."
When we enter the classroom each day we have spent time thinking and planning with great concern for our students. We watch them as they enter, welcoming, but also, in our minds, questioning.
How does he look?
Why does she frown?
Does she have the work she forgot yesterday?
What are the words I can use to support him since his dad is out of work?
How can I find time for him to do some computer work since he doesn't have one at home?
When can she do that needed interview since she takes care of her younger siblings all evening?
He looks so tired; did he get to eat breakfast?
Why is she not walking in with her friends?
Where did he go? I thought he walked in, but now he's gone back into the hall.
I saw her slam out of the car this morning; I wonder what happened with her mom?
And then we teach. Lewis Carroll seemed to understand kids so well. As Alice did, I think our students change several times during the day, week, month. It's up to us to notice, respond, and teach. I wonder if Carroll knew how challenging that is?