I don't take many selfies alone; I prefer to take them with people, but here I am in my new classroom.
Yes, my new CLASSROOM.
My dog is shocked.
I did not wake up in August thinking I would fill in "teaching English to 10th and 11th graders" on my bingo card, but here I am! I'm excited about the new adventure I am on. It is my joy to shape lives for good; what a weighty responsibility it is!
So many steps have led me here. There are many thoughts I could share, but I have made time today to write about education and its telos. I spent the first nine days in August at New Teacher workshops and was swamped with so much information concerning school climate, curriculum development, and tools for instruction. I walked in on the first day of school with so many resources, and I have been glad for all the tools given to me for this new adventure so far.
Out of the 60+ hours I spent in New Teacher workshops, one statement by a lead principal stood out to me.
She said,"Education is a business."
Think about the implications of that statement.
Education is a business? Looking at the Public School systems in America, you can see that statement explaining why so many actions have been taken. When education is more about making money than forming souls to love goodness, truth, beauty, justice, and reality, we are no longer educating but robbing souls of the opportunity to flourish.
I sat across an English department head and a principal when they asked me,"What is your education philosophy?" during an interview, and I answered,"Education is about formation." In return, I asked them,"What are we forming students for?" They chuckled and went on with the interview questions, but my answer is simply:
Education is about forming souls
to love God
and to love people as they love themselves.
Well, what does that look like?
The telos of education should revolve around:
Teaching souls to know how the world God has created works,
Teaching souls to recognize how they can respond to God's call for us to cultivate the earth,
Teaching souls how they can be reconciled back to God because of Jesus' finished work through the power of the Holy Spirit,
And teaching souls to recognize their role in preaching the Gospel to "all creation."
When I look at the public school system, it looks like education revolves around:
Making money ("Education is a business"),
Preparing students to go to college,
Preparing students to get a job,
Getting high test numbers so schools look good.
Although I live in Oklahoma now and work at one of the public schools here, when I was a student in the public school system in Florida, I recognized that the statement "education is a business" would explain their operating framework.
When we put money before souls, we cannot see the faces of those we should serve because we see Benjamin Franklin's face instead.
This is my 7th week at a Title 1 school, and I can tell that these precious souls I am teaching World & American literature have been neglected. I can tell that their education up until this point has been more about "business" than "formation."
I've stepped up because I want to make a good difference. I am not saying my students have learned nothing;
I am saying that an education that shapes the whole person to flourish is more valuable than an education that only prepares them for college or a job.
I am just one teacher, and a new teacher at that. What difference can I make in a system that's been here since 1889? Only time will tell. I do know that I will be a teacher who does his best to point the souls I have towards truth, goodness, and beauty through World & American literature.