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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 Thirty-One: Chasing Calmness


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Chasing Calmness


Dear New Teacher,

With every day you have an opportunity to learn from your students. Take the time to learn with them and to help them on their journey … on your journey. You hear their voices yet you feel “bound without a rope” (Loy, 2010, p. 42). There is nothing holding you back but your self-doubt. We have all felt this way. Overwhelmed! Needing more time … Time to plan. Time to mark. Time to sit and think deeply about a topic. Time is holding you back yet pushing you forward. So much accomplished yet so much to do.

“It is not enough to have a story about what happens. It is necessary to story why I do what I do” (Loy, 2010, p. 37). Think about it. Why are you on this journey? Why are you in such a rush? Why are you asking them to finish the whole page? Make them all complete the same assignment? Why are you doing what you do? Is it what you want to do? Are you wrestling with an idea of a set path you must follow? What is your story? Their story? You do not need to “accept the world we story together as ‘the way things are’” (Loy, 2010, p. 17). When you think about teaching and learning, it’s about taking the time to sit with a topic: to explore...

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