Tag Archives: Love

The Untiring Nature of Human Giving

5 Jan

What is it a person tries to communicate from foreign spaces – I once sent a friend writing on the same problem the recommendation of Rilke’s voice, full of homelessness and spirit, and I have recently taken myself back to him, but I cannot take my mind further than his Spanish dancer or Eurydices – the woman’s dance like a burning match struck in the dark, and the wholeness of a woman who has seen her grave.

Am I so homeless?

I feel a restless wandering in me, but something so deeply rooted that I need to call it home. Do I act from this space? How can I truly bring about change?

I think of all the good people I know, making tangible change, and I recall a lesson – recalled in the brightness of day – that the only truly important task for man to undertake and ensure in tangible results is that he gives love, loves humanity, loves the human, every day. All else are just means to serving this goal.

Teaching. Purchasing food. Conversation. Discussion on tragedy. The only measure I can truly use against myself is how I expressed this singular, important love –

I recognize this to be a somewhat dangerous confession. Should I not be focused on tangible results, data, improving individual student progress – after all, I am their teacher, not their psychologist or mother.

And of course this is nonsense. I’m an excellent teacher, and getting better every day. The capability of human beings to bear many focuses at once, and to truly achieve these goals astounds me and I more fully realize each day.

Whether a student with 10% sight navigating and exceling in a business-school environment, a man actively and consciously fighting alcoholism, or a mother battling depression and working abroad – well. I can say the human being is a remarkable beast, entirely deserving of love.

And this is the goal. This is what we communicate, regardless of language, border, or culture. It does not tire.


The Shadow of Doubt: Darkness Easily Dissolved by Dostoevsky, Donne, and the Outspoken Apology of a Pre-Service Teacher

22 Mar

Click me!

I’m just going to say it: the current state of affairs in the field of education makes me incredibly uncomfortable.

Why am I going to be a teacher? What am I getting myself into? The political stage is mess, the public has taken a stand against teachers and the profession, and reforms encouraging the turnover of education into a private business are readily being passed and accepted on the basis of faith, i.e. despite all the excitement about charter schools, there is still no research to support the claims that charter schools outperform public schools. Again, read the research here.

Education does not look like a promising profession in which to devote oneself. The teacher is no longer the apple of the public’s eye, the security of a wage over minimum may disappear with the advent of charters, and with curriculum reform, teachers may even lose the ability to choose the content of their classroom. Continue reading

Education Ordo Amoris

13 Feb

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.”

Ouch. It’s a damn good thing those Uneducators are just too simple to comprehend an insult like that.

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.”

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.