19 September 2014

#ReflectiveTeacher Blogging Challenge Day 18: Stone soup

Create a metaphor/simile/analogy that describes your teaching philosophy. For example, a “teacher is a ________…”

After we read the story at school for the first time, I insisted we make stone soup at home that night, helping Mom scrub off the biggest rock we could find in the driveway (making sure she didn't scrub out all the flavor).

I completely missed the point of the story when I was 6, trusting as a villager with a fistful of celery, enchanted by the prospect of driveway rock flavoring. I missed the point still 15 years later when I first made the connection between stone soup and teaching philosophy in my Methods of Teaching High School English class. Ah, youthful innocence, when I thought I would be the one holding the spoon.

Now I understand I am not a devious mastermind seasoning the classroom experience with spicy books, poems, articles and a pinch of the right questions. I am not a clever chef orchestrating ingredients from my innocent students to feast at the end. They are the ingredients, and we are in the soup together.

I am the rock.

Mind you, I'm a rock with a resume who begged to be put in the pot. But there are so many outside forces that controlled my addition to the mix: administrators, legislators, PRAXIS test makers and National Board Certifiers. They stir us with standards and CEUs and schedules at every turn and give us a semester to simmer. But they insist someone like me needs to be present for education to happen, and they convince whole school districts full of people of this idea, and so I settle in to become soup.

There can be no question that meats and vegetables are altered in the soup process, and I would argue they become richer in the right combinations and with the right amount of heat. Some might, however, say the rock remains unchanged by the experience.

I assure you: we too are much tastier with each pot of soup.

No comments:

Post a Comment