Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Teaching Life

The clock keeps ticking and Tuesday gets closer and closer. I've been getting ready, but not by doing anything cerebral or interesting. I bought some supplies at Target today--Kleenex, hand sanitizer, pencils--and some clipboards at Office Depot.

I also got the September issue of Harper's. The cover story is "Getting Schooled" by Garret Keizer, who returns to teaching after 14 years away. It's a good article. I particularly enjoyed this:

"My goal here is to point out that even under ideal circumstances, public-school teaching is one of the hardest jobs a person can do. Most sensible people know that. Anyone who claims not to know that is either a scoundrel or a nincompoop; or, to put it another way, a typical expert on everything that's wrong with American public education and the often damaged children that it serves."

Later Keizer writes about "the encroachment of the totalitarian 'business model' that has destroyed family farming as a way of life", a model that focuses less on "issues outside the school" and "lone wolf teachers." He goes on to say:

"The notion that the very same teacher who made the greatest difference in my life need to be purged from the ranks is dispiriting enough, but the outrageous suggestion that the 'brutal facts' of education have more to do with the schoolhouse than with the larger society in which my students live is enough to make me want to spit. Or teach."

1 comment:

  1. Wendell Berry speaks of "solving for pattern"--no single issue can be solved on it's own but must be addressed along with everything else affecting the community. Thus, public education is not fixed by concentrating on the school itself but on the poverty, drug culture, body-image, health and diet, and generational abuse and neglect in a neighborhood or city.