Change a small part of the whole, just a little, and the whole becomes an Entirely Different Beast. Bump it a little bit more and, well…

There is no greater joy for me as a teacher than this: Watching students take the bit and run towards horizons I only sorta guessed might be out there. It's unpredictable, it's flirting with disaster, and is certainly not for the sort of teacher who needs to feel in control and center-stage. But the rewards are real and lasting for everyone involved. Good clean fun! The rare moments I experienced this as a student, when I was allowed to stretch and create, to take control of my own education, are the only positive memories I have of school before university. And it's exactly why I wound up a teacher and not a lawyer or some other sort of scoundrel.

My Ciardi Problem

I have carried some un- or half-read books around with me across decades and over oceans, packed and unpacked them countless times, pulled them from boxes-bookshelves-under beds-back of closets, thumbed them, sniffed them, hefted them and then thought, “later.” One of those is Ciardi’s Person to Person, published in 1964. Every time I tried to read it, my hackles rose,…