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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-Three: Dear New Teacher


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Dear New Teacher


Congratulations on being hired for your first teaching job! As you prepare to embark on this part of your journey, consider this question from David Loy (2010): “What happens when I realize that my story is a story?” (p. 33)

For when you realize that your story is a story, you must also realize that, like you, each of your students is also in the midst of their own story of Becoming. We are all in the process of our own creation. We are each in the process of our own story development. While you may play only a bit part in a student’s life story, it is a great privilege to participate in that student’s story of becoming. You should always consider what role you are playing in their story.

Try to remember that your students’ stories are just beginning, always. Each day could possibly be the “once upon a time” of their grand narrative, the introduction of their story of self. Feel filled with joy and honour that you get to be a part of that beginning. To be part of someone’s beginning is magical. Try to remember the magic in it even on the days that start out with “a dark and stormy night.” Try to remember that each day is a fluid moment in a larger story. It is an important detail, but it...

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