Tag Archives: Babies

Education Ordo Amoris v.2 (Updated for Ever-developing Beliefs)

15 Aug

Ordo amoris. What is it? What does it mean?

“Augustine says the “order of love” (ordo amoris) is the “brief and true definition of virtue.” According to this order, the human person must love everything in creation according to its proper relationship to God, which means loving God above all creatures and not inordinately loving any creature as the human person’s ultimate end.” – MUSE

So Augustine has the universe whittled down to a hierarchical pyramid, with the quest for god sitting on top. This is the standard, the bar, the student who always, no matter the circumstances, throws the curve by getting an A. According to Augustine, all love must be measured in relationship to god. No exceptions.

So what of the love of learning?

If I may define the quest for god as a human being’s inherent need/search for meaning in the universe, then I will draw similar conclusions to the quest for learning. For what other reason do we learn than to explain ourselves and the world? And we love it. Just watch a baby looking at colors and shapes.

In the Zone.

Therefore, the love of learning cannot be far below the love of god on Augustine’s scale. We loved learning so much that we thought it should be accessible to everyone. So we institutionalized it and gave birth to Formal Education. Let’s take a look at how our current society feels about education, specifically those doing the educating:

Oh you pathetic teachers… You are glorified baby sitters who leave work at 3 p.m. You deserve minimum wage.”

“Teachers are using students for their political props”

Come on. Not even Mister Rogers is on our side?

“Students can’t master simple division or fractions because today’s teachers — churned out through lowest-common-denominator grad schools and shielded from competition — have barely mastered those skills themselves. Un-educators have abandoned “drill-and-kill” computation for multicultural claptrap and fuzzy math, traded in grammar fundamentals for “creative spelling” and dropped standard civics for save-the-earth propaganda.”

Rather than stockpiling up rage to spew out a phonetic frenzy of teacher hate, one might consider using all that time and energy to, perhaps, DO something about the system so detested. Like vote in a local school board. Demand better evaluations for teachers. Support public voice by supporting public institutions.

Parker Palmer states in The Courage to Teach, “People who start movements do so not because they hate an institution but because they love it too much to let it descend to its lowest form” (p. 177).

This is the movement – return the institution to its higher purpose by loving it, and therefore undertaking action to change it. We cannot allow our public schools to fail.

Love the institution by changing it. Education Ordo Amoris. Let’s bring it back.


Why Having a Child is a Surefire Lesson in Becoming a Great Educator

26 Jun

So I’ve pushed a baby into the world. We are plus one more on planet Earth.

In the recent past, I’ve thought that the use of the word miracle was hokey. Too strong for an unmagical world. A writer not caring enough to find the correct word choice. After all, the definition of miracle stands as “an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause.”

In other words, a miracle is a pretty big deal. I was careful not to use the word miracle to describe birth –  having a baby was an everyday, common occurrence. Yes, it was incredible, beautiful, and on and on. I never was a big baby person, at least when it came to desiring my own.

And then I had one. And my entire world changed.

Yeah, I'll change your life.

Now, I might use the word foolish to describe my prior state of mind . However, a better word would be ignorant, and for a striving to-be English teacher, correct word choices are no small matter. For that matter, the word miracle should always be used to describe a woman giving birth.

The immense pain. The struggle. The fight. The ability to keep her wits and then to keep bearing when the wits are gone. And after what seems a stretch of years, a lifetime – there is a final push of strength and life is born.


If creation is not some sort of extraordinary event that surpasses known human power, then I’m going to say that nothing amounts to a miracle. Throughout my pregnancy I found that pregnant women do one of three things to people: mystify, baffle, or terrify them. In my current position in life, I unfortunately terrified most (I’m in college). However, the ones that were mystified, often not pregnant women or women with children, understood something I couldn’t until I went through the process of labor and birth.

Pregnancy, birth, the closeness to a raw natural experience – it’s completely mystical and utterly life-changing.

After such an experience, a woman cannot go back to living the way she did before, for she has undergone a metamorphosis. Women are allowed a natural transformation, physically and mentally. After the experience of birth, we become ultimately fuller creatures. We draw nearer to understanding the human experience – and what is more important to teaching than understanding the human experience?

You could say training, intelligence, innovation, preparation; it is true that all these are facets to good teaching. Yet to be a truly remarkable teacher, you need to understand your students. You need to listen. You need empathy and compassion. You also need to know when to bring down the law.

The experience of pregnancy reminds us that we are not always right and that our expectations may be completely off; it reminds us that we are human, and there is an experience we can tap into that is more real than we allow ourselves to feel on a daily basis. It reminds us that there are more important things than the self, the ego – the connection to other human beings. With kids, there is nothing more important than understanding, for as a teacher, you cannot know the home from which the child comes.

Pregnancy, labor, and birth have utterly changed me and all the expectations I laid out for the experience and myself. If I am wise enough in the future to look back on the experience, I will remind myself that position and perspective are everything and that I may be completely wrong regarding a student, a lesson, or an experience. We must remember that we are not simply teaching scientific laws, theories, and literary criticism- we are teaching people, and it is people who are the most beautiful and complex subject, most deserving of our time and attention. Do your students the respect of offering understanding and allowing for change.