Courage & Hope

I’ve been thinking about courage for the past few years. Reading Palmer Parker’s Book “The Courage to Teach” got me started. That book made me realize that during most of my career as a librarian, I never really had the courage to actually know my students … and allow them to know me. Somehow I had fooled myself that teaching research skills to students was more important. I’ve been meaning to do a “courage” posting for awhile now.

2 days ago, Doug Johnson asked “Are hope and inspiration our missing ingredients in educational change? Seems like we have the work part nailed!” I say “AMEN!” to that.
Today, Doug started his post with the words “Hope didn’t do it”, and goes on to tell us how the bill mandating school librarians in every MN school did not make it. At the end, Doug says:

I am sadder than I thought I would be. I knew this would be an uphill battle. I wasn’t even sure we should have taken this on, given its odds of passage. But yesterday convinced me that is a necessary fight and we can’t surrender. As the Blues Brothers would put it, our profession needs to be on “a mission from God.”

I too am discouraged. Does no one else understand our “Mission from God”?

Maybe some of Parker Palmer’s words will provide a much needed infusion of hope and courage:

…..good teaching sometimes goes unvalued by academic institutions, by the students for whom it is done, and even by those teachers who do it. Many of us “lose heart” in teaching. How shall we recover the courage that good teaching requires? …. In its original meaning, a “professor” was not someone with esoteric knowledge and technique. Instead, the word referred to a person able to make a profession of faith in the midst of a dangerous world. All good teachers, I believe, have access to this confidence. It comes not from the ego but from a soul-deep sense of being at home in the world despite its dangers. This is the authority by which good teachers teach. This is the gift they pass on to their students. Only when we take heart as professors can we “give heart” to our students – and that, finally, is what good teaching is all about.

From “Good Teaching: A Matter of Living the Mystery” by Parker J. Palmer

So Doug ….Keep the faith. Keep hope alive. Courage!!

2 thoughts on “Courage & Hope

  1. Pingback: What gives you the courage to be a teacher-librarian? | Wanderings...

  2. I don’t why you picked courage, but courage at this point seems foolish to me. It is clear that NCLB was designed to punish the poor and minority community, treat teachers as fools and generally ruin public education in favor of vouchers. I have worked as a teacher and librarian in four districts in two states and it is all the same. They are playing us for suckers. We take pay cuts and get laid off and every one elst get tax cuts. We are supposed to reach impossible goals and when we don’t we are labels as incompetant fools. I have been laid off twice in the last five years and didn’t have employment for a year. We are being played for fools.

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