Teacher Business

“I believe that the teacher’s business is simply to determine on the basis of larger experience and riper wisdom, how the discipline of life shall come to the child.” Dewey

Let’s get serious for a moment about this career as a teacher. For beginners, never in my wildest daydream eyes have I expected to be in the position I’m in now. School was dead last on my list of places to spend most of the day. And in class I counted the minutes, closely inspecting the minute hand go by, anticipating recess, the final school bell sound before summer, all while dreading the placating smiles and endless stickers along with a real sense of isolation.

A parent the other day made reference to the “special ed” labeling in public schools. Any child branded with a learning disorder spend their time in “containment.” Hold the rhetoric and the fluff, at least their cutting to the chase. But imagine the anxiety of a parent when they first here of the “special setting” for their child diagnosed with autism or ADHD. This scares the HELL out of me! You think your child was being placed at another Gitmo or placed in a prison holding cell.

If you made it this far in reading, welcome to a new Preschool Punk with shameless incentives to post more in the coming days, even if it amounts to a short soap-box rant. But back to the subject at hand – in my short lived teacher profession, I’ll attempt to unpack what this “teacher” thang is all about. Here goes nothing, as it is time now to get a bit serious:

The main premise of teaching I have discovered is to aspire to share in inquiry, reflection, ideas, critical views, interests, and ways of compassion with young people. A teacher is a mentor or facilitator engaged whole heartedly in the intrinsic interests of young people, shedding some light on these self guided interests and allowing kids the opportunity to figure out problems on their own volition A teacher thereby supports the needs of young people through unconditional trust, without impeding on their own progress and success.

Alright, now that’s out in the open. I’ll have to stay true to my word! Although, I don’t think one can sum up this whole scope of teaching in one paragraph. After all John Holt has devoted entire chapters to this topic. Or maybe he did it in one quote:

The most important thing any teacher has to learn, not to be learned in any school of education I ever heard of, can be expressed in seven words: Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.


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  1. #1 by Michele James-Parham on June 7, 2008 - 3:18 am

    “…Learning is not the product of teaching. Learning is the product of the activity of learners.”

    Shouldn’t this be the motto of all Child Education courses and degree seekers?

  2. #2 by riseoutcenter on June 8, 2008 - 3:55 am

    I believe it should! Often times, I’ll look around the classroom when it is a buzz of activity and production, and I’ll think to myself: I mine as well be a chair in the room or a table. This is when I know I have done my job!

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