Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Cold and Soaking Mist

A cold and soaking mist began to fall, chilling him through. The breeze picked up and he began to shiver, even as he was trying to keep moving, trying to warm up. His shirt began to cling to his skin with the damp, and soon droplets were shaking loose and falling to the ground. Alone, in the pre-dawn gloominess illuminated by passing headlights, he longed for home. A place to dry off. A place to warm up. A place to melt away the misty misery...


I'm describing my bike ride this morning. It was 47 degrees and fully dark out at 6:00 a.m. as I pedaled away from the house. By the time I reached the corner, the mist was just beginning to fall. By a mile in, I was shivering, and water was dripping from my handlebars. And as my shirt soaked through, I did decide to cut my ride short and head home. I was miserable out there.


I wonder if this description could also refer to classroom climate? Do students feel warmly enfolded? Or are they shivering in the drenching mist?

What is the cold and soaking mist?

Being frozen out of a clique.

Being iced out by a teacher who cares more about teaching than students' learning.

Feeling soaked by a life outside of school so full of challenges as to make learning in school a distant afterthought.

Knowing the relentless chill of not fitting in with the rest of the crowd--for whatever personal uniqueness is somehow socially unacceptable.


How will you make your classroom feel like home for these students?

Is your classroom a place they can dry off and warm up?

What comforting blankets can you offer a student coming in out of the cold and soaking mist?

Image by Evan Long [CC BY-SA 2.0]


  1. Great post, Dave. We often forget that students have lives outside of our rooms, and it is difficult for them to keep the "baggage" outside. It is our job to provide them with a warm place that is rain free, both literally and figuratively. Well done.

    1. Thanks, as always, for taking the time to comment, my friend. This post was as much for me as for others who might read it. No matter what age our students are, we (I) need to be mindful of doing all I can to make my classroom a welcoming, warm space where learning can happen.

  2. I am struck by the fact that students drop out more in online classes. I am also aware that the best teachers and classes seem to be welcoming, inviting, and the teacher develops some sort of relationship with the students. For me, I am going to make sure I find a way to connect on a personal way (not sure what direction that will go yet) when I teach online.