1.) On the first day of class bring in a wolverine. Later, at the time of your choosing, you may leave the wolverine at home.
2.) On the second day of class select a lectern as thin as the intestines of a dog. Like a mountain pass, you now have narrowed your student’s attention.
3.) On the third day of class identify the desks, the forests, the dry erase marker board, the swamps and marshes, the many crevasses. Also the rivers. A sound teacher knows the deep places beforehand and steers the class clear.
4.) On the fourth day of class mention that you know Jeff Goldblum.
5.) On the fifth day of class teach a covenant of peace and then attack. Ensure your heart has been strung tight. Sharpen the arrows of your mind. Take aim. Higher. Much higher. Pull back, hold…release.
6.) On the sixth day of class bring a strong fermented milk, of horse or goat or tiger. While drinking the milk, announce no milk will be allowed in the classroom.
7.) On the seventh day of class you’ll have a student with the circus in their eyes. Golden monkeys on mopeds. Red pandas in pain. At such a young age, too. Don’t fall in love with this student. Don’t be intimidated. Give them better books to read on the side.
8.) One spring Billy Collins ate the overripe berries of a Neek tree, and then four sides of greasy mutton. That night he had a dream that he was naked. When he awoke his head was muddy like a flooded stream, and the truth was a strange, dark bird. He walked to class without any clothing, and stepped inside. Do not follow the way of Billy Collins, on the eighth day of class.
9.) On the ninth day of class accept no apples, antelope steak, or sarcasm. Why would you teach from downwind?
10.) On the tenth day of class try, try, try to ignore the crow. The crow says Mia Farrow was spotted walking a glacier throughout the night. Crow says she was alone. Listening to crows is like trying to cut mustard—meaningless, really. Still, my fingers tremble.
11.) Confucius came over one Tuesday for noodles. I gave him lard. He took the lard and said, “One time I had an enormous Asiatic bear walk into my class and sit in the back row, slouching. This bear had filthy blue jeans and the glazed look of a fish in his eyes. He didn’t turn in his first composition, and his second was two days late, two pages short, and written on the crumbing skin of a cobra. Finally, at midterm, I stopped him leaving at the end of class—he was always first to the door—and I said I was sorry but I would have to fail him. He looked me in the eyes and said, “But Master, you failed me when I walked in the door.” Remember this story on the eleventh day of class.
12.) On the twelfth day of class wear your helmet.
13.) On the thirteenth day of class cultivate a uniform level of valor.
14.) A student is a round boulder atop a steep hillside. On the 14th day of class put your shoulder to the boulder and push.