“I can conceive of no higher praise for a writer than to be able to speak in the same tone to savants and schoolboys alike, but so noble a simplicity is the privilege of the select few.”
Marc Bloch, The Historian’s Craft (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1954), 3.
My first job after college was as a teacher in Cotulla, Texas, in a small Mexican-American school. Few of them could speak English and I couldn’t speak much Spanish. My students were poor and they often came to class without breakfast and hungry. And they knew even in their youth the pain of prejudice. They never seemed to know why people disliked them, but they knew it was so because I saw it in their eyes.
I often walked home late in the afternoon after the classes were finished wishing there was more that I could do. But all I knew was to teach them the little that I knew, hoping that I might help them against the hardships that lay ahead. And somehow you never forget what poverty and hatred can do when you see its scars on the hopeful face of a young child.
“The measure of an education is that you acquire some idea of the extent of your ignorance.”
â€œThe child is the starting-point, the center, and the end. His development, his growth, is the ideal>
Child and the Curriculum
This description of a principal of a school in Newark is spot-on for leadership in troubled public schools:
â€œHeâ€™s not the Joe Clark kind of tough… He doesnâ€™t strong-arm kids. He knows that you have to show them that you care about them and wonâ€™t give up on them, and every kid, no matter how big, wants to feel safe. Then you just have to be consistent.â€
I loved this quote, p.36:
“Listening for the particularities of students in a classroom highlights the improtance of going beyond unitary catogories such as race, class, gender, sexuality, ability and (dis)ability.”
“the manner in which the machinery of instruction bears upon the child…really controls the whole system.”
1902, cited in Tyack and Cuban, Tinkering toward Utopia (1995).
The winter edition of Souls opens with this quote from W.E.B. Du Bois:
We are prisoners of propaganda. The people of the United States have become completely sold to that method of conducting industry which has been so powerful and triumphant in the world for two centuries that Americans regard it as the only normal way of life. We regard the making of things and their purchase and sale for private profit as the chief end of living. We look on painting and poetry as harmless play. We regard literature as valuable only as handmaiden to industry. We teach business as a science when it is only an art of legal theft. We regard advertising as a profession when it teaches the best way to lie. We consider the unselfish sacrifice of one to the progress of all as wasted effort. Wealth is the height of human ambition even when we have no idea how to spend it, except to make more wealth or to waste it in harmful or useless ostentation. We want high profits and high wages even if most of the world starves.
Putting aside questions of right, and suspecting all our neighbors as being as selfish as we ourselves are, we have adopted a creed of wholesale selfishness. We believe that, if all people work for thier own selfigh advantage, the whole world will be the best of possible worlds. This is the rat race upon which we are set, and we are suspicious and afraid of folk who oppose this program, and plead for the old kindliness, the new use of power and machine for the good of the unfortunate and the welfare of all the world of every race and color.
Essay entitled “The Negro and Socialism” 1958.
Article by Zeichner/Conklin (2005) cites the following in describing the shape of teacher education programs:
“The dominance of a given program structure at a particular historical moment depends as much on compelling social forces as it does on the demonstrated strengths or weaknesses of the form itself.”
Feiman-Namser (1990, p.229)