Sunday, July 11, 2004

Time Stands Still

Every student is aware of the phenomenon that occurs each mid-afternoon, in every classroom, in every school.

Time slows down.

The last half hour of each school day feels like a lifetime. Young eyes follow the second hand on the wall clock, hung, as if to taunt, just above the door to freedom. It sweeps past the numbers; one, two, three…yet the minute hand seems immobile.

I smiled as I read the account of the auction held at the 100 year old Shaw High School building in East Cleveland this weekend. The building will be torn down later this month to make room for a new school in 2006. A woman described how she stared at the clocks so much during her days as a student at the school in the sixties, she came back to purchase one as memento.

Even as a teacher, the clock above the classroom door still seems to hold a link to the everlasting. Every year there will be at least one class of what I will call, for the sake of being polite, "challenging" students. The challenge is to:
1. Keep them on task
2. Keep them from fighting
3. Keep them in their seats
4. Keep them relatively quiet
5. Keep my sanity.
These are the classes that I attempt to spin in a positive direction by calling them life-extenders. Each day, that forty minute period stretches into an eternity; and I watch the second hand sweep past the numbers, in never-ending circles, as the minute hand stays put.


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