Sunday, October 2, 2011

Memories Are Made of This

Dear New Teacher,

It must’ve occurred to you by now that you are locked into a curriculum designed by lawmakers elected by the wise citizens of the state, lawmakers who know far more about pedagogy than the human beings who have devoted their entire adult lives to its study and practice.

Consequently, it is your job simply to prepare your students for exams. If they pass these exams, it will show that you are a successful teacher. This means you can keep your job. It doesn’t mean much more than that.

Yawn. And just think: You gave up being a systems analyst for this.

On the other hand, these students will only take this class from you once. The arc of a kid’s life has placed her in your hands, in no one’s classroom but yours. You have one shot at offering this young person something valuable that in some way emanates from the combination of you, the kid, and the course.

Many other teachers could’ve helped little Bobby pass those standardized tests. What is it that you alone can do?

Love and best wishes,


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