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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-One: Too Young for an Identity Crisis


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Too Young FOR AN Identity Crisis


When I was eleven, I started making up for myself a very thought-out identity crisis. Most pre-teen, teen girls experience your standard “do I do what I want or what my friends want?” identity crisis. Mine was not your standard crisis. It was the type of crisis you go through when you leave everything you have ever known behind and attempt to decide who you are in a place that doesn’t even speak the same language you do. I haven’t talked to very many immigrants about this, but I know this crisis, this inner conflict of holding on to a place that once was while staying true to your new place exists. Or so it did exist for me from eleven to twenty-two years of age.

Such a numbers kid I was that I honestly thought that math, with its certainty, could deliver me from this identity crisis: until twenty-two, I would technically have lived most of my life in Brazil so it only stood to reason that I would technically think, act and feel mostly like a Brazilian. My confidence in my math skills was shattered whenever I would visit my homeland and be introduced to others by my own extended family as a “Canadian.” Their label hurt me not because I was ashamed of being Canadian but because their label automatically denied me of the...

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