The Miracle and the Moment

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Michele Kerr

Michele Kerr lives in California, for her sins.

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15 Responses

  1. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    the hope that they would later be able to tell me later that sonnets had 14 lines.

    With apologies in advance, except when they don’t.Report

  2. Avatar Aaron David says:

    Fantastic piece Michelle.Report

  3. Avatar fillyjonk says:

    Oh, this is great. This is the kind of thing I dream of when teaching. I’ve never quite seen the epiphany-in-action (and had one myself) like you described with the Milton sonnet, but I’ve had little moments where I either saw a light go on, or I saw someone go, “Wait…..this is like that thing I learned in this other class, right?” or “Oh wow, you won’t BELIEVE the results I got in my independent-project research!”

    Thank you for sharing this.Report

  4. Avatar giovanni da procida says:

    This is great.Report

  5. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Amazing piece. (I had a similar moment, from the perspective of the students, with Louise Glück’s “Mock Orange“.)

    And so, many people will read of my miracle and that perfect moment and point out that my students hadn’t improved their skills. Yet I defy them to say I didn’t teach my kids something important that day.

    I think that you pointed at something wonderful and they actually looked at the very wonderful thing. And, yes, it was wonderful.

    My criticism of Modern Education isn’t that these things aren’t wonderful. It’s that we should have alternatives to paying… let me google this

    In its most recent survey of college pricing, the College Board reports that a moderate college budget for an in-state public college for the 2017–2018 academic year averaged $25,290. A moderate budget at a private college averaged $50,900.

    $100,000-$200,000 is a hair steep for moments of perfect beauty that stay with you the rest of your life. Especially if the moments of perfect beauty are in the public domain.

    ($40,000 might be a hair steep.)Report

  6. Avatar CJColucci says:

    I’m not sure they haven’t “improved their skills” — or learned that they had skills they didn’t know they had, which may be much the same thing.Report

  7. Avatar bookdragon says:

    Beautiful post. Milton has always been a favorite. “They also serve who sit and wait” has been a sustaining thought that I’ve come back to again and again since I first read “On My Blindness” in 10th grade.

    Also, I could not agree more on the Schaffer chunk method – irritating and stifling.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to bookdragon says:

      Now I kinda wanna know more about this Schaffer Chunk Method, but I’m afraid I too, will become irritated and feel stifled.Report

      • Avatar bookdragon in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I’m too old to have been stuck with it, but my kids have had it foisted on them.

        It’s okay for early jr high in giving kids template to get started for writing essays. But by the time they’re in honors high school classes it *should* be long gone. That it continues to be THE format for writing is a source of much discontent.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Go ahead and judge this book by the cover. There’s no way the “Schaffer Chunk Method” of writing could be anything better, worse, or different than what your gut tells you it is.Report

  8. Avatar Fish says:

    I’m certain my 17-year-old would agree with you completely how rare and how special these miracle moments can be. Excellent post.Report

  9. Avatar Pinky says:

    Great story, great article, thought-provoking.Report

  10. Avatar Slade the Leveller says:

    Don’t get me wrong; I support standards. I believe that state tests measure important information.

    My kids’ standardized testing days are not too far in the past, so I can recall how much time was wasted taking the myriad tests the state or city required be administered. It was always my belief that a sufficiently rigorous curriculum would prepare students for any standardized test thrown at them. Instead, time was wasted in class imparting test taking strategies, and preparing for what content the schools guessed would be on the tests. Such a waste of good class time! Teach your subjects and they’ll do well on the tests!

    Plus, to my kids’ eternal eye-rolling disgust, I always told them multiple choice tests are easy because the answer is given to you.

    I hope you have many more of these moments in your teaching career, Michelle.Report

  11. Avatar Freeman says:

    A little more than a year after her passing, my late wife came to me in a dream. We embraced. I held her in my arms. She felt sooooo good. Then she vanished. The dream was over.

    …And day brought back my night. I sure know what that means. But you know what? I’d give anything to have that dream again.Report

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