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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-Two: Ode to My Rabbit Teacher


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Ode TO My Rabbit Teacher


You always appear when I most need you. Leaping and darting down the alley in front of my car. In the dark. You are terrified, desperately looking for a way out of that long tunnel—a hole in a fence, an open gate. I know your pounding heart and catching breath. This goddamn mammalian fleshfear adrenalin rush panic.

You remind me that I am also animal. That the predator is always just around the corner. I ran from a black bear once; in the night, its rumbling, throaty warning shook the forest. I just wanted to pee. Next thing I know, I am running, numbminded to everything except terror, through the dark woods, and the oak scrub, looking for my tent. I was lost. Blood running down my legs from scratches that I couldn’t remember getting. And so I know how it is that you can never remember where the safe place is, where there is a hole in the fence.

You ate my garden this summer. Over one hundred sunflowers sprouting, three rows of okra, all the edamame plants, most of the carrot tops, the first tender leaves of all the beets, most of the chard. But not the zucchini. I don’t like those either. I was frustrated and so pissed at you. One day I was delighting in the seedpods appearing on the okra;...

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