August 19, 2012

I'm a holistic teacher...

The other day I received a mention by another blogger, and I like to think friend, John T. Spencer. He said in a reply to a comment that I put on one of his blog posts that I was one of the most holistic teachers that he knows. That, to me, is a huge compliment. However, the funny thing about it is that until he mentioned it, I had not realized that I was a holistic teacher.

If you are unfamiliar with the concept, my understanding of it is that you teach your students in a manner that prepares the to be people. They are not "preparing for the (much idolized) real world". Instead, they are real people, in a real world, who are trying to find and understand their place in it and what they have to offer.

The greatest struggle that I see in my students is the struggle to find purpose and meaning in their lives. I was lucky. I figured out that I wanted to be a teacher when I was 17 years old. Not only that, but my chosen profession/career/life had a clear path to "success". Not everyone has that kind of clearly laid out direction. Not everyone knows where they are trying to go.

If there is one thing that I want my students, and all students, if possible, to take away from their educations it's curiosity and the drive to pursue it. Ask questions, fail, succeed, fail again, fall down, pick yourselves back up and do the things you think you should be doing. I want my students to be people - not numbers or data, not a piece of the bell curve, not problems or behavior issues, but people.

That is what being a holistic teacher is all about.

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