Closing session: Open mic: Bring your writings fromconference sessions to share with the group.
Here is the piece I read at the closing session:Is joy an emotion? Would I know it from my teaching? From the sessions and workshops here in the Rocky Mountains? Joy, I mean. The public demonstration of joy, of passion-filled joy, the hallelujah of the miracle of my students’ lives, the celebration and laughter, the crazy enthusiasm and embrace of the privilege to teach and to meet semester after semester new souls, spirits, minds, bodies, hearts, passions, joys, pains, words, lives. Who gets to do what we do? Who else gets the glorious privilege to teach words and language and reading and writing? Who else gets to read what we read? Who else gets to live in the continually increasing variety and wealth of language and learning? Who else gets to see and recognize and argue for the gifts our students don’t even see in themselves? Who else recognized the joy we felt at the joy our teachers felt in seeing our futures for us? Who else heard the honest soul-piercing yes that affirmed not only our words on the page but our hands, our minds, our hearts that made those words on the page? Where is this joy now? What are our responsibilities to this joy? What are our responsibilities to remembering and nurturing and practicing this joy? To standing, to raising our arms and hands and voices in praise of the thrilling, smiling, embracing joy of language, of human-attempted touch, the penciled, inked, typed, and pixilated reaching toward another spirited flesh? Where is the joy of our reception and reading? Where is the thanksgiving of our teaching and reading? Who gave us our jobs? Who gave us this privilege to teach and to learn and to swim in the libraries of language? To hold the hands of our students as they trace to lines of their lives, the tears they let fall, the visions they desire, the worlds they discover, the learning they love? Who sings this? I mean, who joins in song about this miracle? Who bows before this? Who recognizes the undeserved grace of this joy? Which of us thanks our students for coming into our lives? Who says “Amen” to the love we received from this joy? In all creation, sky to earth, ocean to ocean, continent to continent, man, woman, parent, child, teacher, student, animal, plant, rock, and soul, in all creation: Why us? Why this joy?Laurence
What a beautiful statement of passion for teaching! Both the passion for the content and the passion for the student. Thanks for sharing this.
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