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It's been a chaotic start to teaching English composition. I've had some bad stuff happen.

But it's made me remember that bad stuff happens to all of us, including my students, and that I may not be aware of those things at all.

I want to create a classroom conducive to learning AND conducive to being human--getting lost, getting sick, being powerless, feeling powerless, etc. Maybe that student who "needs to learn a life lesson" really just lost someone they love, or hasn't showered in a week.

I don't feel a need to assert my authority by being strict, or harsh, or smug. I might be ahead of my students in a lot of things, but they are young, and some of them are already ahead of me in other things. We are all learning. We are all human.

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