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The Curious Teacher

An aspiring teacher, exploring the dynamics of education, with the student at the center

I had a stimulating conversation last night with an individual who happens to be quite significant in my eyes; this is no extraordinary feat, as the exchange of interesting ideas and new perspectives seems to be part of that mysterious primordial glue that binds us as a complementary pair.  The particular topic of convo, however, got my wheels a-spinning (again) about the official first entry for this journey of a blog, which I’ve had every good intention of starting up but that I’ve, for no good reason, not undertaken as of yet – perhaps due to a combined sense of excitement and fear, a similar sensation that arises whenever I consider the livelihood that I’m currently pursuing,  i.e. a “day” job as an elementary teacher.

I happen to spy this type of emotional wave as a positive indication of serendipitous direction – some self-regulation to accomplish concrete goals required.  And this can be particularly challenging when one – such as myself – is prone to fear of self-worth when it comes to undertaking goals that have significant personal value.  Yes, I’m willing to admit my weaknesses in order to reflect upon and improve my habits, disciplinary regimen, and ultimately my frame of mind.  Is this penchant for self-confession an example of good character?  If I surmise that the relative answer is ‘yes’, when, where and how did I pick up this intrapersonal skill?  Certainly it wasn’t all at once, but I wonder if some quotient of ‘good’ character genetically inherent, or is the result largely shaped by our multitude of life experiences?

Such was the general theme of the aforementioned conversation.  And I am prone to side with the latter perspective.

Moral edification; character building; moral fiber – call it what you will, the fact still stands that such values that most humans deem to be representative of good character – which I might broadly define as taking actions that benefit and improve the being of others, as well as one’s self – appear to be universal, perhaps differing slightly within context, but infiltrating the best of all cultures from one generation to the next.  Character-building is not necessarily from whence all educational content and activities should stem; but I think it’s undeniable that such is the lifeblood, the undercurrent, that provides the driving force behind American society’s spoken primary goal of education – to produce thoughtful, responsible and active citizens who function at their full potential within a greater democratic society.  And in the course of development, children consciously and subconsciously look for guides and models.  As teachers, this is our greatest responsibility, to serve as models for and to provide effective tools for efficaciously shaping the human character – no questions, all hands down.

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