The first teachers are our parents. We are all “home schooled” by accident and on purpose; learning to observe and adapt to visual, auditory, tactile, emotional, physical, and kinesthetic lessons that shape our lives and characters. “Nature or nurture?” is the question that cannot be fully answered, only balanced against the fires of experiences that shape each of us. Elements of perseverence and compassion, personal opinions and choices continually shaping our development and swaying the directions of our paths into life. Like a tree branch or root system, we are always growing, extending, seeking, recoiling, and readjusting the path.
Our teachers throughout life make remarkable Impacts onto our lives and the future of ourselves, our children, our whole world. Our teachers shape and groom the face of society, culture, and the future by the words they utter, the things they do, and don’t do while we are with them.
The blog posts that follow are the reflections and lessons of a life well lived for over 5 decades, and of the wisdoms gained by teaching for over 3 decades. The teaching praxis reflected on follows the concepts of a common-core enriched, project-based, art and music infused, hands-on, autonomous learning style with students inside and outside of public schools, home schools, charter schools, and innovative start-up schools from 1981 to the present. Starting out as a reluctant school teacher, pursuing the life of an artist, non-profit leader, energy conservation guru, teaching-artist, science teacher, math tutor, sculptor, weaver, writer, researcher and parent has rounded my view point of what learning means.
The blog will pursue the theme “What it Means to be a Great Teacher,” and more importantly why. Teaching is not a career pathway for the “faint of heart.” Indeed, teaching requires deep insight into your own personal struggle to find meaningful work, and education. Teaching means growing a thick skin in order to endure both an unappreciative student body and family brand. Teaching means countless little losses of face, and a few giant leaps of faith. Teaching means investing in a future you may never witness. Teaching implies you always smile, you never give up, and as Loren Green taught us in a Bonanza TV show in 1951;
“I don’t have anything against education, as long as it doesn’t get in the way of your thinking.“
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