Triangulating hope, Part II

From my perspective I see that hope and teaching are somehow fundamentally linked. I tried to explore that idea in my last post, but even at the time I recognized that the thought was incomplete. (After all, I ended the post by asking readers for their definition of what hope means to them.) It has only been two days since writing that post but after reflecting on a few conversations, a few emails, and one comment (thanks, Tom!) that the post initiated, I think I have gotten closer to pinpointing what hope means to me and my life as a teacher.

Flimsy or circular

My problem was that I couldn’t nail down a satisfactory definition for hope. Its importance, its role in my life, and its role in my teaching all made perfect sense. But defining hope was problematic because each definition either seemed self-referential (“hope is hoping for good things!”) or weak (“hope is thinking that maybe something good might happen at some point down the road”).  Continue reading


Triangulating hope

At today’s faculty meeting the whole faculty was invited to share stories about why we teach. At the time I chose to keep quiet and listen instead of speak. I hope this blog post isn’t too late for me to join the conversation.

The first circle of hell

This summer I offered Dante’s Inferno as a summer reading option for students. It was my first time reading it, and I really enjoyed it. (And so did 18 students. Who would have thought that 18 high schoolers would want to spend their summer reading Dante’s Inferno?)

But I was distracted the whole time. Even though I read each canto and traveled with Dante and Virgil through all nine circles of hell, my thoughts were stuck with those on the first circle. Since reading about the poor souls on that first circle I think I have been getting a little closer to putting my finger on what it is about teaching that speaks to me.  Continue reading