We were a small class last night: Yenny, Muy Chen, Miao, Dariusz and Wilson. Jason came, but disappeared at break — a too-often problem with him.
We’ve been working on Octavio Paz’s “My Life with the Wave.”¹ I’ve always loved this story. I first read it forever ago when I was teaching high school, discovered it at the same time as Marquez’s “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.”²
I always see something new when I read this story, and I love trying to talk about it with students, listening to them try to dismiss it, try to make it make sense, drag themselves (sometimes kicking and screaming) into beautifully incandescent light bulb moments about the wave, about how the story might just work after all.
And last night was better than usual. They reached a few conclusions — really sophisticated conclusions — that none of my classes has ever reached on their own before.
This is, of course, a thing I love. Utterly. And even more because it’s my night class, the kids, the reject ones who supposedly can’t handle this kind of work, the ones who many schools would encourage to drop out. Take that, impatient system with your inflexibility and unwillingness to see how delightful and eager and smart these kids are.
his life with the wave
sunlight and laughter, conch and fish
how do you embrace a wave
how do you reach her blue heart
¹ Do you know this story? If not, you can read it here.
² Another amazing and mind-altering story that is so wonderful to use with students … especially when so many of them are devoutly religious (and you can read it here.