Few months ago, I wrote that equity and social justice in education is work of the heart. I thought not many people would understand my plea because I am not God to change a heart. However, I know now I am not alone in this quest. After reading The Courage to Teach by Parker Palmer, I learned that there are others like me searching for a way to promote equity and social justice in education. The thesis of the book as I understand it will require teachers to look at their hearts to find if they are working in the right field and/or to renew their passion for their calling.
Here are some of the assumptions in the book that encouraged me not give up:
- “Until we realize that the capacity to translate private feelings into public issues, when warranted, has been an engine of every movement for social change”.
- “When students go year after year as passive recipients of education, small wonder that they carry their passivity into the work place. What they have learned at school is that keeping one’s mouth shut is a way to stay safe. (That’s referring to us teachers and administrators). But they have not learned (us)….that opening one’s mouth to challenge what is wrong is a way to stay sane.”
- “Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique, good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of teacher” ( You have to read the book to understand this concept)
- “The courage to teach is the courage to keep one’s heart open in those very moments when the heart is asked to hold more than is able…”
- “Bad teachers distance themselves from the subject they are teaching and in the process, from their students. Good teachers join self and subject and students in the fabric of life” ” ( You must to read the book to understand this concept)
I am deeply encouraged by Dr. Palmer’s work. If you are a teacher and you are reading this, do yourself a favor read the book, reflect on its message and begin to work on what God and your heart lead you to.