It occurs to me that some of what I love about teaching and learning, I saw personified on film. Tom Shulman’s words were brought to life, by Robin Williams, through the character John Keating. Their Dead Poets Society challenged me to take look at teaching differently, to expand learning beyond the classroom; to look for deeper meaning and to ask why.
“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, “O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?” Answer. That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play *goes on* and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”
And this year, as I consider what my verse may be, what shape my contribution will take place, I will consider Rainer’s advice and remain in inquiry.
“Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart.
…live in the question.”
Rainer Maria Rilke – Letters to a Young Poet