My Bookshelf: The Courage to Teach, 1

Posted: October 11, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

So, I’ve been thinking about the book I just started reading yesterday afternoon. It was a beautiful day. My older child was out with her grandmother, the younger was napping, the husband was maybe reading maybe sleeping on the couch. I had a moment. So, I gathered up a pile of books and headed outside to enjoy the beautiful weather.

A year or so ago someone was getting rid of some books at school and I picked up The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer. I had never read it and recently have heard it mentioned or suggested a few places (can’t remember exactly where). So yesterday I actually started reading.

Ok, I know I only read the first chapter, but why hadn’t I read this book already? That is my question. Even though it’s hardly a new book (copyright 1998), it’s totally relevant to what is going on today in education (at least the first chapter is).

Here are some quotes I puled out before I had to stop marking things:
Good teaching requires self-knowledge: it is a secret hidden in plain sight (p.3).
Technique is what teachers use until the real teacher arrives (p.5).
Good teachers possess a capacity for connectedness (p.11).

(I was really wishing I was reading this book on some sort of digital device through the kindle app so that I could highlight and take notes and have a neat copy of it all with it’s own url when I was finished. But, I digress.)

Anyway, I am really appreciating the reflection on the connection to self. But, I think that had my younger self read this book, she might have thought it was a little too goofy. When I taught in the Chicago Public Schools, I was moved to a new grade every other year (once 3 times in 3 years). I always tried to reflect on my teaching and the students’ learning, but with having to get up to speed on a new language arts, math, and social studies curriculum with each move (I taught pretty much self-contained classrooms) I didn’t have as much time to reflect as I would have liked.

Now, this is my 6th year in the same grade. I admit that I was worried about being in the same grade for for more than 2 or 3 years at first. But, then I really hit my stride and started to innovate more. I realized that I knew the curriculum well enough to be thinking about where I wanted to end up and plan accordingly.

Sometimes you just read the right book at the right time.

Anyone else reading the right book right now?

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