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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 Seventy: An Address


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An Address


All I have ever really known about my paternal grandfather is that he was a quiet man. On occasion, in my youth, I would make inquiries about the man, tall and angular, of whom an aged black-and-white photo hung in the hallway of my childhood home. After a long pause, and some searching, sometimes a fragment of a story or an atomized historical fact would be offered, but always quickly followed by “He was a quiet man.” Invariably these shards, pieces of stories, slipped through my fingers, eluding my attempts to turn them into a unified whole.

Last week, late on Monday night, I stood in the lobby of my condo complex and examined the small package, no more than a few hundred grams in weight that had been placed in my mailbox. At a quick glance I saw it was from my aunt in Kamloops, and surmised she had remembered my birthday, as she always does. Still in the lobby, I tore open the yellow manila envelope and examined its contents, a weathered and worn paperback book. On the cover was a picture of the Stanley Cup, of hockey fame, with the title, in bright bold red letters, Hockey Dynasty: The Fascinating History of the Toronto Maple Leaf Hockey Club. In the top right corner of the book was the price, $1.25, and the printing date, February 1970.

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