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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 Twenty-Two: Thoughts and Aspirations for a New Teacher


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Thoughts AND Aspirations FOR A New Teacher


Dear New Teacher,

When I first began teaching sixteen years ago, I was young. I was proud that I had made it through university and was now about to embark on the career that I had dreamed of for so long. I loved children and the rhythm and energy that arose from the school day, each moment different from the next and impossible to predict. But I didn’t truly understand. I wish someone had told me that I could do all the planning and prep work I wanted, but I couldn’t truly know how my day would unfold until I looked into the eyes of my students. David Loy (2010) says, “I live multiple stories that overlap with other stories, others’ stories. … When class is more fluid, personal success stories jostle each other, like basketball players elbowing for the rebound” (Loy, p. 28). He is speaking about the class system, but I find the analogy transfers well over to a classroom environment. Please know that even though you may plan team building activities and lessons on how to respect each other, putting a group of new students in a room together calls for the teacher to use story to bridge the connections and find the story that makes each student unique. It is not so much about the content as how we as a community understand...

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