Working on a Dream




Monday, November 14, 2011

A Note for all Teachers

I have taught in high school for ten years. During that time I have given assignments,

among others, to a murderer, an evangelist, a pugilist, a thief, and an imbecile.

The murderer was a quiet little boy who sat on the front seat and regarded me with pale

blue eyes; the evangelist, easily the most popular boy in school, had the lead in the

Junior play; the pugilist lounged by the window and let loose at intervals a raucous

laugh that startled even the geraniums; the thief was a gay-hearted Lothario with a song

on his lips; and the imbecile , a soft eyed little animal seeking the shadows.

The murderer awaits death in the state penitentiary, the evangelist has lain a year now in

the village churchyard; the pugilist lost an eye in a brawl in Hong Kong, the thief

standing on tiptoe, can see the windows of my room from the county jail; and the once

gentle-eyed little moron beats his head against a padded wall in the state asylum.

All these pupils once sat in my room, sat and looked at me gravely across worn-down

desks. I must have been a great help to those pupils - I taught them the rhyming scheme

of the Elizabethan sonnet and how to diagram a complex sentence
- Naomi J. White.

(*Quoted from Student Teaching, 1940).


How many times this may have happened in your classroom is unknown. 

---So take the time to go beyond reading, writing and 'rithmatic. 

-Lives and Destinies hang in the balance-

1 comment: said...

Actually, the question is not what you attempted to teach them, but what they learned...
Perhaps the imbecile beats his head against the wall to the beat of iambic pentameter...
The evangelist had pleasurable memories before his life was cut short, the pugilist- sans an eye- now has the time to contemplate poetry, and is learning new skills and building upon the skills learned diagraming sentences...