Monday, June 12, 2006

Here it is, Monday morning! Just took some books to the church for the library. I didn't realize we had so many books! We've already donated perhaps 500 to the county library for their book sale! Wow!

A word about the essays I'm posting. They aren't appearing in the order in which I have them organized. So, to get the thread of my thinking, you have to read Puzzles first, then Boxes, then the next one, and so on. They don't make much sense standing alone. I wrote all of them over a period of about 6 months back in 1987 as a summation of what I had learned in over 30 years of teaching. As such they only make total sense read in the correct order, especially for the first few. After that, they will stand by themselves.

So - I'll add the next ones here,


Straight lines march, from front to back,
Of thirty chairs, more or less. In
Each a student sits - eager, apprehensive,
Perhaps afraid. Thirty places, thirty
Faces (puzzles, really) facing toward
Number thirty-one: authority, order,
Fate - yes, even fate. For grades
And credits are the coin dispensed by
Number thirty one!

And rows serve order, authority, and
Again fate - papers, tests and answers
Must somehow match a name, a face,
Else none can know - the final

Presumptuous, impersonal, all must
Face towards the center of the whole.
Ignoring others (mustn't talk), only
Number thirty-one can know! Mystery!
Each puzzle in its place - a box, labelled.
On the chart - the book of puzzles
In their boxes, in their rows,
Facing toward the front.


Desks, tables, rows, front, back,
Authority, rules and roles;
All work to separate, each from other,
All from one as well. Each within
His (or her) allotted space, divided by
The unspoken language of the system.

Boxes, puzzles - squares upon a board -
A game, the rules of which are
Firmly set by others who have won. And
Competition, fear, conformity - these
Three the values prime that set the lines
Between the players - define the rules.

'Tis called education, and learning its'
Supposed goal. And what is learned?
Ways to truth? Sharing in a great
Conversation of Man? Appreciation
Of Beauty, Wisdom, Truth, Virtue? Life?
Some, yes - no thanks to the game.
But most learn only how to win,
To perpetuate the game - separate,
With right answers and proper words -
Unable to recognize the differences
Between the boxes and the puzzles,
And life.
So, I hope you can begin to understand where I'm going with this.


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