Tuesday, November 03, 2009

As the snowflakes fall outside the window, I am reminded of Taylor Mali's poem, Undivided Attention:
Undivided attention By Taylor Mali http://www.taylormali.com/

A grand piano wrapped in quilted pads by movers, tied up with canvas straps - like classical music's birthday gift to the insane - is gently nudged without its legs out an eighth-floor window on 62nd street.
It dangles in April air from the neck of the movers' crane, Chopin-shiny black lacquer squares and dirty white crisscross patterns hanging like the second-to-last note of a concerto played on the edge of the seat, the edge of tears, the edge of eight stories up going over, and I'm trying to teach math in the building across the street.
Who can teach when there are such lessons to be learned? All the greatest common factors are delivered by long-necked cranes and flatbed trucks or come through everything, even air. Like snow.
See, snow falls for the first time every year, and every year my students rush to the window as if snow were more interesting than math, which, of course, it is.
So please.
Let me teach like a Steinway, spinning slowly in April air, so almost-falling, so hinderingly dangling from the neck of the movers' crane. So on the edge of losing everything.
Let me teach like the first snow, falling.
While this is not our first snowfall of the season, students still find it distracting, engaging, and much more interesting than the simplifying algebraic expressions lesson or social studies test I have planned for today. They look longingly at the window, to the point I finally put down the shade.
Mali is right....
Let me teach like the first snow, falling...............
White and soft
Falling gently
Tugging at heartstrings
My students
And mine
Like my students
And me

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