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The Ecological Heart of Teaching

Radical Tales of Refuge and Renewal for Classrooms and Communities

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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-Five: Advice to a New Teacher

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CHAPTER SIXTY-FIVE

Advice TO A New Teacher

KIRSTEN VARNER



You are beginning a tale with many twists and turns. At times it will be overwhelming. There will be days when you feel that you can’t possibly keep up, with the work, with the expectations, with the needs of these students placed in your care. There will be days when you feel that you have failed; to get to it all, to get through it all, to get to them all. Keep strong. Do what you can do; it is all that you can do. This is a journey that takes courage. Courage to take a risk, and when you fall, the courage to stand back up and continue on this path.

There will be other days. Days when you get swept up in the excitement of a class beginning a new adventure together. Working to discover new truths, create connections, to make sense of it all. It is exhilarating, it is what you have been waiting for, it is why you do this work in the first place. Take refuge in these moments. Be present in them and let them fill you.

Your journey continues. There will be moments of joy, doubt, success and failure. Each one will show you something, if you let it.

You will be told many versions of the story of what education is and what your role as...

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