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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-Eight: Dear Adam’s Teacher


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Dear Adam’s Teacher


Dear Adam’s teacher,

Hello. My name is Lisa Taylor and I am Adam’s camping companion, ski partner, late-night texting buddy and most important his auntie.

I understand that you are Adam’s science teacher. You are very lucky to have this role and to get to spend so much time with him. He is a curious boy and especially loves the subject of science.

I’m not sure how much you really know about Adam but I wanted to share a few things about him. He is brilliant. He can start a mean campfire and has this thing about organizing his room just so. He doesn’t like reading but loves being read to. He can make my four-year-old son laugh hysterically and has a confidence with tools that I wouldn’t go near. He has a strong desire to learn and an even stronger desire to fit in.

I’ve recently learned that you want Adam to take an exam to determine what he does or does not know in terms of the Science 8 curriculum. As a fellow educator I understand your intentions, your need to know where your students are, your responsibility to the assessment process and your commitment to the curriculum. I have also tested my students for the same reasons you want to test Adam. I challenge you to consider an alternative. I ask...

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