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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 Sixty-Three: Beyond the Outfield Fence


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Beyond THE Outfield Fence


An old friend of nearly forty years started the story with, “Hey Jud, do you remember the time at J. P. Dallos Field when Mr. Lupul … ?”

Instantly I knew what he was referring to. It was the story of a seemingly simple act, one human recognizing the humanity in another. A story that unfolded over just a brief wisp of time, but fleeting as it was, it had been seared into both of our memories and carefully tucked way. Though we had not spoken of it on that day thirty years ago, or on any of the days that followed, as my friend continued the story the long-dormant images of that day flashed through my mind.

One of the great things about growing up in a small town is that some of the friends you make in preschool become friends for life. Perhaps some of that value lies in the lifetime of shared stories. Often these stories change based on which friend is telling the tale. Some details are left out, some are added, often the points of emphasis change, and of course the key actors rise and fall depending on the current speaker. In this case, though, the story of Mr. Lupul, my friend and I remembered it in strikingly similar ways, despite being only eleven years old when we witnessed the events play out.

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