Tonight, I had the unmitigated pleasure of discussing Socrates, Plato and Aristotle with an intro to ethics class.
While we were discussing their ideas, the class moved from a discussion of the scientific method, to quantum physics (of which my knowledge may also be described as quantum); from the definition of what it means to be a human, to learning how to drive; from theism and the problem of evil, to the foolishness of school boards when they attempt to cover up their motivations; and we ended with a discussion about the supreme importance of the question in the search for understanding and wisdom.
(Namely, once I believe I have found an answer, that puts an end to searching causing me to close my mind to future, undreamt possibilities.)
We are only wise when we realize just how little we actually know.
In short, it was a discussion that was made possible by the fact that I as their teacher have the freedom to explore a wide variety of topics in a multitude of ways in my class. My curriculum isn’t predetermined by a Pearson employee who has never met my students or a superintendent who isn’t a teacher.
Teaching is easily the most amazing experience of my life.
I mourn for my peers for whom the joy of teaching is being crushed by petty, insecure bureaucrats who believe that education can be and should be pre-programmed.
I mourn most of all for the students who are rarely being encouraged to seek out the interconnectedness of ideas.
Life is not a multiple choice exam of right or wrong answers. It’s Yes. It’s No. It’s Yes and No. It’s Maybe. It’s Soon. It’s Perhaps. It’s Both/And.
But most of all, it’s a realization that life is found in the questions we ask not in the answers we think we know.
It’s time to throw out the answer sheet that traps us in a self-contained, narrow room and to start asking questions again.
As Wiesel reminds us, “every question possessed a power that did not lie in the answer.”
Isn’t it time we went exploring again just to see what we might find?
The quality of this essay merits publication in a professional journal. I recommend Phi Delta Kappa, http://pdkintl.org/ or http://radicalscholarship.wordpress.com/.
Please continue writing. You are becoming more inspiring to those of us who sincerely care about the education of the citizens of North Alabama.
Thanks Martha. I appreciate it.
I truly enjoy and look forward to your blog!
Thanks for reading! 🙂
Please disregard the prior post. Of course, as soon as I made that comment I found the email signup. Thank you. Go ahead and delete that post as well
Glad you found it. 🙂
Thanks for reading!
From the schools, which emphasize rote memorization, test taking and lower level thinking skills, to the churches, who preach absolutes—simplistic answers to difficult questions that shut down inquiry in favor of dogma and superstition, discouraging individual thought and critical thinking, to the home, where the television is the primary source of information and sensory input, we are creating an environment where curiosity and learning is being stifled in favor of conformity and utility. If our children cannot learn to think and grow intellectually, we are inviting a future of misery, inequality and regression.
Ed, I agree completely. I am so very thankful that I retired from the current public education situation and am now teaching authentically and joyfully with no bureaucratic strings attached!
As a college instructor, I am constantly encouraged to seek out best practices for my classroom and, thankfully, I am given the autonomy to incorporate those methods and strategies as I see fit. Flexibility in my pedagogy is absolutely essential to my effectiveness as a teacher. I am sorry to see that flexibility so horribly curtailed for our public school teachers and their students.
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