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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 Forty: New Stories and Roles


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New Stories AND Roles


New stories and roles are possible because I am that narrative and I also am not that narrative. I am that narrative because such stories compose my sense of self. Yet if the self were only that narrative there would be no possibility of abandoning that story and obtaining a new one.

—DAVID LOY (2010, P. 38)

Dear Beginning Teacher,

It may be hard to realize this at first, you may need some experiences to relate to, but one day you will question what your role is as a teacher. When you first start teaching, you will think you know your role. It may even be a narrative you’ve inherited without knowing it or without having questioned its origins. You may not have been awake to it and so you may not have noticed it is your narrative. You may think your role will be to engage, teach, reach and possibly even save the ones entrusted to you—a daunting task, surrounded by fear within your own heart and the hearts of the parents of the children you teach. You will fear failing and may have times when you feel that you are. Your role is those things, but it is also not those things.

You will begin to wonder what your role is because it will feel like everything and everyone may...

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