Encouraging Educator Courage

16 Sep

Take a look at this article from Alfie Kohn on educator courage in Education Week. Wow. There’s so much here to think about.

Here are some of the quotations that stood out to me:

  • “[…] too many educators seem to have lost their capacity to be outraged by outrageous things. Handed foolish and destructive mandates, they respond only by requesting guidance on how to implement them”. Wow. Is this really happening? Why?
  • “I stopped blaming my children.” – written by a San Diego teacher in her piece about at-risk children: read here. Oh, man, this one is so hard to do. It’s so much easier to chalk failure up to kids’ disengagement rather than to question our ability to engage.
  • “Think for yourself; the teacher might be wrong” – a sign posted by a teacher in her classroom. I LOVE THIS. Especially when students to have access to so much information – let’s involve them in the process rather than pretending like we know everything. This reminds me of one of my first teaching experiences: I was teaching a class on the Israeli Palestinian conflict, and it was tough! Now, imagine my horror when I find out that one of my students is Jewish, especially when I found out because he corrected me on a date I’d mentioned. AH! The terror! My worst teaching nightmare come true! But, you know, it was pretty liberating too, once I just came to terms with the fact that this kid had information about the subject that I just didn’t. Once I became okay with that, I was so much less frightened by the prospect of a kid knowing more than I did. Maybe it was my age? I don’t know. Now, I’m wrong all.the.time. 🙂 I’m sure my students’ parents would be SO happy to hear that. Or, would they?

So, yeah, what did you think about Alfie Kohn’s piece? Did anything stand out to you?




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