“When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind” - Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Driving through the narrow streets of my town on my way to school, caught in a long, slow serpentine of vehicles, I focus on the beautiful song coming from my phone, it's one of my Youtube lists. Sufjan Stevens Should Have Known Better casts a hopeful glare even to the very grey sky above.
Here we are. Two endless processions of teenagers flow on both sides of the street. They procede slowly but, anyhow, faster than my car. Ok, patience, not yet there, but almost there, the school is not that far. A quick look at the car clock: 8:01 I’m supposed to be giving my first lesson of the day in 14 minutes. Will I make it in time?
Sufjan Stevens is now singing Futile Devices and I wish I could stay in the car listening to music all morning long. But that’s not me, no, not really me. I’m not lazy, I love my job, I can’t wait to see my students. What’s this sudden wish of having nothing to do or nobody to see?
I really don’t understand what happens to me sometimes. For example, why have I been obsessively listening to the same songs these days? I should stop and I blame them for my recent exceptionally moody mood. But they are just beautiful love songs and my mood must certainly have some other reason to be. I decide I don’t actually want to know.
“Good morning, class. Are you all here? Ready to go to the lab?” I've made it in time, yes, and as usual, on Monday mornings, they have been busy exchanging anecdotes from their weekend fun, so not actually noticing my absence or longing for my arrival.
We go out of their classroom. Chatting and smiling along the empty passage, headphones in one hand and a notebook in the other (them), carrying my heavy book bag and my heavy thoughts (me). We reach the lab, take our seats and start our lesson. We previously read some excerpts from the book Wonder, we discussed them and oh! they really did great seen their lack of competence in the English language. Motivation is all! Now we are going to watch a few scenes from the movie.
The lights go off. I can’t find my way to clicking the bottom left side of the screen for a few seconds and in the total silence of the room a boy is whispering to his mate: “this story is very beautiful, pity you’ve missed our previous lesson”. I smile and I click, at last. On our screens Mr Browne is giving his first lesson to Auggie Pullman and to his mates in a large colourful classroom. “This is our precept this month: When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind”. I sigh. Teaching makes my life much, much better.