There is a question that is difficult to frame correctly, and even speak: are educators encouraged to be curious? To be investigators and scientists of our world? Moreover, what obligation to we have to ensure our students (within our intellectual and academic abilities) have access to the best education possible? And how do we define “best education?” Is it a willingness and acceptance of humility and reflective failures? To demonstrate acuity and mastery with rhetoric and logic?
(Thinks internally: get to the point.)
…a teacher who teaches world history only “believes” the world is 6,000 years old?
…a science teacher who “believes” in intelligent design theory or creationism?
….an English teacher who can’t explain the difference between Charles Dickens and a Hallmark holiday movie?
…supporter of STEM/STEAM but doesn’t think we went to the moon?
…or the world is flat?
…or a history teacher who believes Trump is helping our country?
…a science teacher who doesn’t understand how vaccines work?
…a counselor who doesn’t have access or the will to support gay, pregnant, homeless or other children in crisis? (And I have never met one of these types of counselors, lucky for them.)
I mean — look! LOOK AT ALL THE COOL STUFF WE KNOW!
We, teachers, stumble constantly, there is no doubt about that. One of my favorite teacher-writers, Tom Rademacher, (@MrTomRad) uses a blend of humility and unapologetic know-how that provides many of us the comfort and discomfort that we may not always get it right, but dangit, we’re trying! Another one of my favorite teacher-writers is Mrs. Hall (@MrsHallScholars)
A young man who used to think reading was boring, who in 20 minutes used to read 1-2 pages… NOW he reads 20+ minutes a day, successfully reading 8-9 pages. I am SO proud of him! Celebrating his revelation, love of reading & self-discipline turned into academic achievement! 📚 pic.twitter.com/dARPN3kFZM— Mrs. Hall (@MrsHallScholars) December 17, 2018
She uses her ‘warm demander’ voice — the gentle but urgent voice to encourage not only her lucky students but all of us who stand in her light. Think I’m being hyperbolic? Follow her and you’ll see what I mean.
Here’s what I’m wrestling with now: I am having a difficult time understanding how teachers/educators promote racism, ignorance, and don’t use facts, science, and reflection as part of their practice, no matter what they teach?
Bear with me while I work through this.
PS Why I chose some of the links: we are learning new things about new things all the time, and learning new things about old things, things we’ve done, researched, probed, analyzed, accomplished and litigated. It’s fine to have faith, beliefs, and abstract notions of beauty we cannot see. Carl Sagan was a master of straddling the gulf between science and power of belief. But please, please: be a thinker. Be curious. Be a questioner. Be a healthy skeptic. But please: be smart about it.