Saturday, December 30, 2017

The arc of teaching

If you're preparing her for next year's class, and that is all you have to offer her when she asks why she's doing this, you are not doing this right.

If your biggest goal is to get her past the PARCC, the NJ ASK,  the NJSLA-S, the Regents, the SBAC, you are not doing this right.

If you're getting her set for college, polishing her essays, tutoring her for her SATs, writing her recommendation letters, and think that's enough, you're not doing this right.

If you're setting up internships, bringing in astronauts and engineers and lawyers and entrepreneurs into your school to inspire her to do similar work, you're not doing this right.

If you can imagine her in her last few years, aged, slower and in declining health, yet see her looking back at her life's arc with some serenity and peace, and your life had even a little something to do with this, well, then, you've earned your due.

You did it right....


Kate T said...

Our school's founder said a number of things that the school has taken up as talismans, things to light the way to our practice. Two of these are: "The needs of society determine the work of the school," and "A school school be a model home, a complete community, an embryonic democracy."
The needs of society are clear, to me it seems. We must help our students grow to be empathetic, participating members of a pluralist society.
And no, I can't teach them parallelism until they personally, cognitively need it, or complex compound sentences before they are thinking in complex, compound ways. Even if they need it next year.

doyle said...

Dear Kate,

Maybe that's the crux--we define the needs of society as human/cultural practices as opposed to economic ones.

I need to re-adjust my tinfoil hat and get ready for the rest of the school year. I think I might start by just having kids plant on Tuesday. It's going to be bitter cold and dark when class starts--as good a time as any to show children the light.

Kate T said...

Are you back on Tuesday? We are back on Wednesday. And yes, so cold and dark.

The needs of society are human practices - and not economic needs. May we all find ways to show our students the light.