Wednesday, March 12, 2008

No Man is an Island

Today I taught another one of my favorite things to teach: John Donne's Meditation XVII. How well the lesson goes always depends on the students in the class. It is, after all, 17th century metaphysical introspection, not always a thing easily understood by 21st century teenagers. Today, it went well. Today, they got it. And today, when we were done exploring what John Donne had to say about our interconnectedness, I asked them to write their own Meditation XVII. I have yet to see the finished product, but I am eager to do so. I should have tried to write my own while they were writing, but I was reading and grading journals at the time so I could hand them back before the class ended. I will, in time, write and share my thoughts on the subject. For now, appreciate and enjoy Donne's famous words:

No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.

Photos: Toothaker Island, Lake Mooselookmeguntic, Rangeley, ME

7 comments:

mon@rch said...

Sometimes we all . . including your students need to take the time to help understand things. Great teachers are those who allow the the students to learn.

Shawn Brace said...

Incidentally, I was just reading this poem last week. I think this is one of the most profound poems ever written - containing such amazing truth.

Unfortunately, the concept is very rarely understood by many of us.

gardenpath said...

Glad to hear they got it! I have always liked this passage, too.

Great shots of the big lake!

Crafty Gardener said...

Hi rondi, thanks for following a link from Lifescapes to my blog. I'm a great fan of Susan Wittig Albert's books.

Cedar Street Kid said...

Thank you for sharing.Western culture often reverses the role of teacher and student, thinking that the teacher is giving something to the student,when in reality there is no difference bewtween teacher and student for to teach is to learn.Learning requires action, and that action is to teach, and so we all gain.Sounds like you are a great teacher.

Inland Empire Girl said...

Thanks for reminding me of this poem. I'll have to go back and read it again.

Beth said...

A good reminder of a great poem and so nice to see Mooselookmeguntic without ice!
You have a really nice blog, I'll enjoy visiting.