The teachable moment likes to hang around near the back of the classroom, slouching a bit and keeping a low profile until she feels the need to force her hand and say her piece. She despises rubrics and the rectangles of spreadsheets. She lives for the marriage of whimsy and cynicism, for the freedom to cool her throat with spring water from dented plastic bottles when she's thirsty. She yearns for challenges issued from the innocuous scritch of bitten pencils clenched in the hands of quietly subversive children who want to know more than how to force comparisons into the overlap two whiteboard circles share. She smirks at Scantrons and loses worksheets in the hallway, folding them into paper airplanes dull with smudges and angry Gothic doodles. She listens for gaps in instruction, for space between the disembodied squares of vocabulary words scattered across the wall at the back of the room like laminated flash cards with no answers provided. The last time I saw the teachable moment, she interrupted me in class to ask a question about how sheet lightning is different from those bright and jagged electric bolts that stun people's hearts and leave streaks of scorch on the ground around them. I stood still for a minute and waited to hear the raised and eager student voices of explanation and anecdote rush out in an unintelligible wave, but all anyone had to say was, "That's off topic. What are you thinking?" The teachable moment crossed her arms across her desk with her head down on them and fell asleep.
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This piece was inspired by Dave Bonta. Here's a link to his prose poem, found at his blogsite Via Negativa: http://www.vianegativa.us/2009/07/teachable-moment/