Today, while visiting with a student just home from college, I realized that I was doing the same thing, slightly altered, that I have been doing for nearly 20 years.
There I was, sitting down with a young person who was no longer in my class, not to mention my school, who took time out of her busy life to come say hello – really a lot more than hello – to her old English teacher.
This got me thinking about how much of school life is recursive – repeated actions and exchanges that reflect the past but are also completely new. I’m not talking just about the recursive work of teaching and learning, but about the beautiful echoing that school walls capture.
Talking with this charming college sophomore, I got that eerie feeling I sometimes get when I feel time looping. Was this 2014, and was I the 40 year-old teacher, or was it 1994, when winter break from college was incomplete without a visit with my high school English teacher, the woman who taught me to love Wide Sargasso Sea almost as much as Jane Eyre?