Bird Droppings August 9, 2013
It is so much more than just wanting to
“I want to say one other challenge that we face is simply that we must find an alternative to war and bloodshed. Anyone who feels, and there are still a lot of people who feel that way, that war can solve the social problems facing mankind is sleeping through a great revolution. President Kennedy said on one occasion, “Mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind.” The world must hear this. I pray to God that America will hear this before it is too late, because today we’re fighting a war.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
When I saw this quote earlier today it reminded me that wanting to in any endeavor is a powerful force. Yesterday a friend asked about the idea of wanting to teach and maybe I should write about that. As I am working on a paper while not on that subject it is about how we take away from kids that drive or that wanting to. Having taught in public school going on thirteen years now and as a parent being involved for nearly thirty years or more in public schools I have seen many teachers who did not want to be teaching. For whatever reason they are there and how they impact kids is directly related to their lack of motivation for being a teacher far too many times.
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” William Arthur Ward
A time back I was subbing during my planning period and ran into a paradox. On the wall a sign stating you earn respect and yet the teacher I was subbing for demanded respect from students. Several students had mentioned to me that fact about this teacher. Granted it was a third party conversation, and especially from students who do not like a teacher is not always the best source. However I know many teachers who walk in a room and demand respect they think that in being a teacher students should bow down and worship the ground they stand on. Granted in some cultures teachers are revered. However a teacher in that particular culture also has a different view of their teaching. When respect is demanded many students take offense and immediately back away. Some students as in the situation with one of my students become antagonistic and fighting back and arguing against demand. So how do we then inspire daily and weekly and monthly and for a lifetime as Ward states.
“Teacher’s Prayer: I want to teach my students how to live this life on Earth, to face its struggles and its strife and to improve their worth. Not just the lesson in a book or how the rivers flow, but how to choose the proper path wherever they may go. To understand eternal truth and know the right from wrong, and gather all the beauty of a flower and a song. For if I help the world to grow in wisdom and in grace, and then I shall feel that I have won and I have filled my place. . That I may do my part. For character and confidence and happiness of heart.” James J. Metcalf
I want to teach, a simple statement but a basis for all that then transpires in a classroom. Over the years I have read many books on education and on teaching. One that has always been a good read and reread is The Passionate Teacher by Robert Fried. There is a need for passion in teaching. This book should be a required reading for all teachers to be and at least for all education graduate students.
“One looks back with appreciation to the brilliant teachers, but with gratitude to those who touched our human feelings. The curriculum is so much necessary raw material, but warmth is the vital element for the growing plant and for the soul of the child.” Carl Jung
“Compassionate teachers fill a void left by working parents who aren’t able to devote enough attention to their children. Teachers don’t just teach; they can be vital personalities who help young people to mature, to understand the world and to understand themselves. A good education consists of much more than useful facts and marketable skills.” Charles Platt
Many disagree with my philosophy of teaching and walk by on the other side of the hallway so as to not be infected. I recall many years ago one teacher who would go an extra hall over to avoid coming by my room. Granted there were snakes and spiders and loud kids, maybe they were afraid of snakes. I often wonder why some people become teachers. Obviously it is a paying job, with relatively good benefits. Some teachers will say they were called it is almost a sacred mission for them. But those few who simple could not find anything else or thought they wanted to teach maybe should wander away to another field. I know of several teachers simply waiting to retire and collect their teacher retirement. I wonder is it a sacred mission?
“The future of the world is in my classroom today, a future with the potential for good or bad… Several future presidents are learning from me today; so are the great writers of the next decades, and so are all the so-called ordinary people who will make the decisions in a democracy. I must never forget these same young people could be the thieves and murderers of the future. Only a teacher? Thank God I have a calling to the greatest profession of all! I must be vigilant every day, lest I lose one fragile opportunity to improve tomorrow.” Ivan Welton Fitzwater
“There’s no word in the language I revere more than ‘teacher.’ My heart sings when a kid refers to me as his teacher, and it always has. I’ve honored myself and the entire family of man by becoming a teacher.” Pat Conroy, Prince of Tides
“If you plan for a year, plant a seed. If for ten years, plant a tree. If for a hundred years, teach the people. When you sow a seed once, you will reap a single harvest. When you teach the people, you will reap a hundred harvests.” Kuan Chung
Such a powerful tool is teaching for the betterment and or the fall of mankind. As I look at how we decide who teaches and who does not, and how we train teachers I wonder. Are we training for a hundred years or next year? Looking at government’s involvement it is short term. I find it interesting how in eastern thought so often it is beyond the now. Nearby in a community is the Church of the Now. We focus so much on short term goals and efforts. Reach this score now and or suffer the consequences. When independent data is finally compiled I think we will find NCLB, No Child Left Behind has left significant numbers behind. A great teacher here and there might change some of this. Maybe we need to change legislation, our views about education, and our views about learning.
“There is an old saying that the course of civilization is a race between catastrophe and education. In a democracy such as ours, we must make sure that education wins the race.” John F. Kennedy
Right now education is falling behind as we spend billions fighting wars and more millions wasting time in needless legislation and efforts to repeal legislation. I often find it interesting that John Kennedy wanted to pull out of Viet Nam, and Lyndon Johnson wanted to stay and continue. After Kennedy’s assassination Johnson did continue the war for a number of years and many deaths of Americans. Several of whom would have made great teachers I knew them personally. Interesting side note Lyndon Johnson was on the board of Halliburton who benefitted by continuation of the Viet Nam war and is the same company involved in giant oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and in developing and inventing fracking.
In wanting to be a teacher, wanting to end a war, wanting to be a good parent, or wanting to be a friend, each requires of us to put in an effort. It takes an effort to be a great teacher, to end a war, to be a good parent, and to be a good friend. It is how much beyond is where the wanting to, fits in. You will know when you get there. It is a new day and and the beginning to a wonderful week ahead, I have many more pages to write and several new classes of students ahead. I hope each of you as you prepare for the week coming has a joyous and glorious day. Please keep all in harm’s way on your mind and in your hearts and to always give thanks namaste.
For all my relations
Wa de (Skee)