Odes to Education – (the introduction to a series of poems about education):
We hear much being said – and well should – about research, new ideas, diagnostic approaches, innovative methods, and modern materials in our field. Yet as I listen and leaarn from all this, I can’t help feeling a rather gritty “grain of salt” which constantly reminds me that an idea or method should please, oh, never be separated from the caring ingredient. These heartfelt communications are, in my view, the greatest single catalyst to learning – whether in social growth or academic strivings.
I fully understand the rush to avoid being too subjective or overly idealistic. But I find it an ill-fitted cloak of scientific objectivity which would think that diagnostic and professionally capable educational approaches exclude clear-eyed feeling involvement with students and others in the educational sphere.
In working with several “incorrigible” children, it has seemed to be not the approach or method as much as caring firmness and positive excitement which turned the tide.
Thus I contend that, right alongside educational theory, scientific efforts, practical experience, and other such essential areas of professional comment, we could well find a place for poetry about educational issues.
Other contributions in the arts seem equally valid–say, perhaps a play regarding student-teacher communications at a teachers’ convention to replace at least one seminar, discussion, or speaker presentations.
These avenues of expression seem appropriate lest our field, via its professional literature and meetings, forget that small yet by no means minor “spice” of the teaching act: passion and dedication. Below are a few poems which reflect varied moods of teaching as I have lived it.
Let us not forget the spice of the teaching act includes feelings and caring.
A comment on discouraging moments and situations:
Where I Am, Sometimes
Education — a bum trap.
Maybe it’s this that keeps confusion on tap.
Schools–to beautify, or a slow way to die?
The pain, the quirks, the agonizing why.
What can we do if teachers we be?
Will we try, suffer, regroup, but always go back?
Or will we shut it out to maintain a serene scene?
More recently I’ve seen a need for communication across so many different lines: interdisciplinary, parent-school, teacher-teacher, across all types of roles where people could use a dose of empathy:
Clean Out Your Ears With Hope
Is anybody listening to what the people say?
Or would you rather keep your peace and turn your ears away?
The old folks have their hangups?
Youth – genuine gripes but solutions few?
If we could try to tune in, a little more each day
to what that “nut” right next to us is trying hard to say
Perhaps we’d find he’s human in his own especial way,
and we might learn that all of us would feel the growth that day.
It is worth hoping that, as the pendulum begins to still between objectivity and rampant feeling, educators will synthesize theories, feelings and behavior in to a more meaningful and functioning whole.
Copyright by Hildra Tague. Obtain author’s permission for use online or in print.