When I first heard of feng shui, I thought the idea was laughable. An ancient Chinese secret says the direction my couch is facing could change my life? That’s a good one. Years later, I can’t say I believe in qi or polarity or the eight trigrams, which are a few things that Wikipedia tells me I know nothing about. And although I still get a kick out of the fact that the term’s pronunciation sounds like something fabricated by Harvard undergrads during their rambling conversations in the course of an all-nighter marathon beer pong tourney : “Oh, yeah, feng is pronounced fung and shui is pronounced shway – I SWEAR,” I am prepared to say of this exotic room layout hocus pocus: umm, maybe… maybe there’s a kernel of truth in it.
You see, I’m old enough now to have lived in enough homes and experienced enough furniture shuffling to know that it feels different to sit on a couch when it’s pointed east than when it’s pointed west. The phenomenon is even more pronounced, for me at least, with the direction of a bed. Maybe it’s my internal compass that senses direction and then somehow influences my thoughts and feelings. Maybe the tug of the earth’s magnetic field affects my moods depending on my alignment to it. Maybe it’s only the change in perspective and the different angles of light. I just don’t know. But the point is that somehow I can tell the difference.
Students can, too. And since my students and I spend hundreds of hours in my classroom each year, I think it’s important to maximize our experience with respect to environment as well as content. Continue reading