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The Ecological Heart of Teaching

Radical Tales of Refuge and Renewal for Classrooms and Communities


Edited By Jackie Seidel and David W. Jardine

The Ecological Heart of Teaching is a collection of writings by teachers about their life in classrooms. Reflecting over three years of collective work, it illustrates how teachers, parents, and students can avoid some of the distractions and panic endemic to many schools, allowing them to focus thoughtfully on rigorous, beautiful work. It draws on ecological thinking, Buddhism, and hermeneutics to provide deeper, richer, and more abundant sources for teaching, thinking, and practice, and shows how these three lineages provide keys to decode the current malaise that surrounds schooling. The book will be valuable to beginning and experienced teachers and administrators, as well as to parents and anyone involved in stepping away from the exhausting industrial images and ideas that have turned schooling into an ecological and intellectual disaster. For those interested in interpretive research and life-writing, the book provides a wide array of examples; it is a valuable resource for undergraduate classes in curriculum and teaching, as well as graduate research methods courses interested in new forms of thinking and writing.
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Chapter Eight: Relearning Freedom: Advice to a New Teacher


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Relearning Freedom

Advice to a New Teacher


Freedom results from understanding how stories construct and constrict my possibilities.

—DAVID LOY (2010, P. 33)

I remember thinking to myself early on in my career that eventually I would feel like I had it all figured out. Now, well into my journey, I am being taught and transformed by what I experience. Some days flow seamlessly and other days I feel like I am just beginning again. With that being said, here is the advice that I would give right now, in this moment, to you, new teacher.

There will be stories that will narrow your ideas, thoughts and choices. They will exist in places of normalcy; part of a larger master story, Loy (2010) explains as “revolving around fear and anxiety” (p. 31). These may be told to you by people in power about the powerless. You will also have your own stories that will encircle pressure on your ideas and pedagogy. Scripted to you over your own experiences of education and prevailing in social and cultural norms. These types of stories are powerful and sneaky, so watch out for them.

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