Parker Palmer is not the same as Peter Parker

As good teachers weave the fabric that joins them with students and subjects, the heart is the loom on which the threads are tied, the tension is held, the shuttle flies, and the fabric is stretched tight. Small wonder, then, that teaching tugs at the heart, opens the heart, even breaks the heart – and the more one loves teaching, the more heartbreaking it can be. The courage to teach is the courage to keep one’s heart open in those very moments when the heart is asked to hold more than it is able so that teacher and students and subject can be woven into the fabric of community (kula) that learning, and living, require.”

~ Parker J. Palmer

What does this passage mean to you as a student?   In your experience as a middle school or high school student  was there a teacher who enacted this kind of compassionate teaching?   Was there a teacher who you connected with in this way?  Tell a story that reflects your beliefs about this passage.

To me, this seems like the love that a teacher shares for their subject and their students are both great forces that connect with the teacher; that a teacher has to know their subject and their students in order to create such strong connections.

There were a couple of teachers in middle school who displayed this kind of mentality towards subject and students. My science teacher, Mr. Jones, my math teacher, Ms. Johns, and my English teacher, Ms. Brooks, all shared this intense love for their subject and a desire to engage their students fully and care about if their students learned anything or not. The three of these teachers really pushed me ahead when I tried to take the easy route.

To elaborate, Ms. Brooks had us write constantly; for every hour of class, we wrote for half of that hour. When she had us write poetry, I quickly sketched together an acrostic poem and handed it to her. She saw that I obviously spent a whole five minutes on it and told me that I was capable of something a bit more challenging. She was right, and I put in some real effort into that poem (though I now forget what it was even about or what it sounded like).

I hope to push students to exceed their expectations for themselves and to push them to not take the easy way out.



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