Skip to main content

Meme: Passion Quilt

Passion Quilt: Gotta Love the Books!





Chas Clifton, author of Letter from Hardscrabble Creek, has tagged me with a teaching meme, focused on what is our passion as teachers. And partly because, when I sit in worship and ask what it is I am supposed to be doing, I often see the face of one or another particular students, and partly because I think that there are so many things out there that can leach away a teacher's joy in teaching, I'm going to take up the challenge.

It's one I find especially poignant, given the fact that Chas, a longtime teacher of journalism and writing, is leaving the profession at the end of this semester. "The zest is gone," he writes, and I understand why he has to "flog [himself] into actually writing the comments" on each new batch of student papers. There's an aspect of teaching that's a lot like being on a treadmill.

In respect to a colleague, how can I say no?

Here are the meme's directions:
  • Post a picture or make/take/create your own that captures what YOU are most passionate for students to learn about.
  • Give your picture a short title.
  • Title your blog post "Meme: Passion Quilt."
  • Link back to this blog entry.
  • Include links to 5 (or more) educators.
My picture's title? Gotta love the books.

Gotta love the books, gotta love the kids.

I became a teacher when I discovered that I loved teenagers--not as a psychotherapist, because psychotherapy is just not their natural habitat, their metier, the way a classroom is. Within a classroom, you see them as they naturally are: passionate, quirky, always-hidden and right-out-in-the-open. They hate and despise adults and the adult world, and they love, need, and flourish under adult attention. They're weird, and annoying, and lovable the way dogs are lovable, if you're a dog person.

I've always loved books.

I literally don't remember a time before I could read. I was one of those kids who learned to read very early and books have always been one of the most important things in my life. My idea of heaven, if there is a heaven, is an enormous, rambling library, with an autumn day outside which should either be perfect for reading under a tree, or rainy, so I can camp out in a comfy armchair beside one of the library's many fireplaces.

Books are magical. I have read while walking down a sidewalk, while waiting for a bus in near-darkness, caught in a traffic jam, huddled under my covers, in hospital emergency rooms and outside intensive care units. I have read while in love, while numb with shock or grief, while waiting outside of job interviews and, perhaps most delightfully, I've read to my child, to friends' children, and now to whole classrooms full of teenagers. I know the hush that steals over the room when they're really listening, and the triumph in their faces when they bring me news of a new title in a series they've fallen in love with. (And which I introduced them to!)

I want the students who pass through my classroom to read. More than anything else, I want them to fall in love with books, as I have: the friends who are always home, the comfort that never fails, the escape that's always just a page away, no matter how awful our present-reality. No other drug compares, no earthly friend is as faithful, as is a good book.

Read. Read trash, read manga, read Batman comics--it's all the same to me. Find your joy, find your idea of a good book, and read, read, read!

To hell with literature. Just find yourself a good book, my dears, and All Will Be Well.

I don't think I can name five bloggers I know who are teachers. On the other hand, that's not what we usually blog about, and there may be teachers (in a traditional or a religious sense) I'm not thinking of. So I invite those who would like to participate in this meme to go ahead and leave a comment linking to your blog post.

Comments

Stasa said…
I am thinking of two university professors and a graduate student instructor I know. If you like, I'll ask them if it's all right with them for you to tag them. :) (I think the one university professor is most likely to respond -- this is right up her alley.) Let me know.
That's OK. I may come up with some names as I think more... or not. For the moment, I'm leaving it to volunteers.

Maybe I'm just part of the "edges" of this particular quilt.

;)

Popular posts from this blog

Bears Eat My Lettuce

I love where I live;  since moving to our new home four years ago, I've been able to build a relationship with a piece of land for the first time since I was a child.  It's everything a dirt-worshipping Pagan could ask for.  I have a garden, and I grow much of my own food, and that is as much a spiritual delight as a taste treat.  And I have woods again as neighbors: glacial boulders, white pines and black birches, owls and white-tailed deer.

And bears.

And the bears eat my lettuce.



I'm not kidding about that.  Oh, it's winter now, and the bears are huddled up in their dens.  But this past spring, I grew lettuce.  Award winning, gorgeous lettuce: three different kinds!  They were nourished to extraordinary size and succulence by the cool, wet weather we had, and each night, I would gather just a few outer leaves, knowing that careful tending would mean tasty salads for months.

And then, over the course of three days, the bears ate every single one of my lettuce plants…

The Saturday Farm

I love Saturdays.

I have come to think of the work that I do on Saturdays as "farming."  Now, I know it isn't farming--not really.  We have a medium-sized vegetable garden and two dogs, and that's not a farm, by any stretch of the imagination. 

But I keep thinking of a comment Joel Salatin made in Yes Magazine once, about how Americans have become used to thinking of our homes as centers of consumption, but how once, thinking of your home as a center of production (typically, a farm, for most of us for most of our history) was the norm.

And between trying to live with less plastic junk and trying to eat more sustainably and locally, Saturdays at home have become very productive days.  And that productivity--the willingness to substitute patience, skill, and thrift for consumption--I've come to think of as a species of farming.  (My apologies to actual farmers, whose work I increasingly appreciate.  But thinking in this way works for me, somehow.)

First thing this…

On Activism and Ordinary Acts

One of the dangers of being Quaker--or Pagan--is a privilege at the same time.

Quakers and Pagans share a somewhat counter-cultural view of our society.  In slightly different ways, most Quakers and most Pagans believe that human society is flawed in bitterly destructive ways that must be confronted and changed.  We look out at a world burdened by the selfish exploitation of whole nations of human beings, and of the ecosystem itself, and we know that things as they are are not OK.

The privilege and the danger that arises from this is that of associating with activists.

It's a privilege, of course, to have a chance to be inspired by those who are willing to risk imprisonment or even death to be faithful to their spiritual convictions.  This inspirational force is excellent for warding off complacency and the kind of internal self-congratulation that degrades possessing a moral compass into mere spiritual materialism and self-worship.

When I have done some small thing outside the no…