August 9, 2010


It's interesting to think about the particular careers we've chosen, why who we are is right for what we do. "Pushiness" in general has always made me uneasy, so I find it a gift that I've maneuvered my way into a high school classroom with lovely windows where I'm allowed to not sell or convince but guide. My desire to write is a form of this gentle scouting, toogoing out, blazing a trail, making sense of what I find in whatever way I can, and then saying, "Hey, if you'd like, feel free to come along."

I just finished teaching a youth writing course at The Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis that I called "This Wild World: Writing About Nature." And I suppose this is where I do try to convince you: it was pretty sweet. Before class I'd walk out into fields and snip wild flowers and elegant weeds; I'd find poems by Mary Oliver, essays by Gary Paulsen, quotes by Thoreau; I'd think up questions that didn't have answers. And in class we'd talk and write about what and how the natural world can teach us. Even a blade of grass.
I'll go back to my full-time classroom in a few weeks, and where I will have less freedom in regard to answersthere are, after all, standardized testsI'm hopeful that teaching experiences like the one I just had will stay fresh in my mind, and that between wrong and right, I will walk to those windows, pull back the blinds, and say, "Look!"

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