Volcanic Beauty

My classroom hums. Students are on computers, plotting the locations of earthquakes and volcanoes on Google Earth, looking for patterns on the planet as a whole.  I am on the floor in the center of the room, building a giant volcano out of chicken wire, paper strips, and sand, glue and water mixed together like a milkshake. Lava leaks out onto the cardboard base in a beautiful mess. I’m not sure if it will work. I am making it up as I go along. I tell my students this — unsure if it is right to reveal this weakness. They smile.

And suddenly, listening to the calm hum of the room, the way these young — sometimes volatile — people are working together with partners in harmony, my heart rises in my chest,  gratitude grabs hold and squeezes out a tear.

Teaching is a trip into the unknown, a visit to the lava chamber to either be roasted alive, or warmed and bouyed up, and carried ahead by the beauty of other human beings.



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