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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-Six: Girls, Go Close the Doors!

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CHAPTER SIXTY-SIX

Girls, Go Close THE Doors!

NEELAM MAL



“Telling our story” is how we make sense of the world and ourselves.

—DAVID LOY (2010, P. 27)

My family, extended and immediate, is filled with amazing cooks. In particular, my parents and sister have incredible talents and palates and can throw together a culinary masterpiece out of leftover odds and ends in the fridge. (My brother and I are the late bloomers in this respect.) Growing up, at least four times a week, we ate Indian food. Punjabi Indian food typically starts with the same base. Fry onions, garlic and ginger. Let it brown and get fragrant, add salt and spices, then tomatoes. Add your vegetable, lentil or meat of choice. Simmer. Enjoy. Our white friends loved to come over for dinner when we were having Indian food. My mom always makes Indian food for potlucks—usually chicken. Always a hit.

The part that no one saw was the meal preparation. Before any cooking got started, we had a ritual. My mom or dad would yell at us, “Girls, go close the doors!” Our job was to run around to every room in the house to make sure closet and bedroom doors were closed. Dresser drawers had to be closed. Jackets hung up in the closet with the doors closed. Blankets or sweaters lying around on the couch … put them away, close the...

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